How to fertilize a tree? In the fall, a slow-release material, such as 2-1-1 should be applied to a tree. If you’ve never fertilized a tree before, here are some basics you should know. After all, trees in their natural habitat already receive all the nutrients and minerals they need to thrive. While it may be tempting to follow their natural environment and let their leaves decompose naturally, fertilization is still required in many cases.
Applying a slow-release fertilizer
To choose the proper fertilizer, determine the type and rate of application. Trees can have different root zone areas than shrubs. Depending on their size, site conditions, and type of fertilizer, the recommended rate of application can vary from two to four pounds per thousand square feet of the root area. To avoid damaging waterways, never apply more fertilizer than necessary. The following steps will help you choose the correct amount.
To determine the right amount of fertilizer for your tree, measure out the root zone area. This roughly circular area around the tree includes its entire root zone. The roots extend 1.5 times the distance from the trunk to the drip line outwards. The roots sometimes extend four feet or more beyond the drip line. Therefore, the rate of release and the number of nutrients available for absorption should be balanced.
Applying a 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 material
To determine how much fertilizer to apply, measure the diameter of the trunk and the surrounding soil. Then, trace a circle around the trunk about three to four feet from the trunk. Don’t fertilize the entire tree, as the roots of the tree may be affected by the fertilizer. Wait until the grass has dried before applying the fertilizer, and apply the material at a depth of twelve to 18 inches.
Measure the root area using a square or rectangle. For non-confined sites, use a circle. For larger specimens, measure the circle’s radius from the trunk out to the drip line. This is the approximate size of the area under the tree. After measuring the site, you can add or subtract the size of the square. Remember to mark the entire scope of the hole with string or twine.
Applying a slow-release fertilizer in the fall
A soil test is a great way to determine what nutrients your tree needs and which types should be avoided. Depending on the type of tree, this can range from 12 percent to 30 percent nitrogen. Other factors to consider are the amount of phosphorous, potassium, and other micronutrients. To fertilize a tree properly, a 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 fertilizer should be applied, providing two to four pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet annually. If you’re unsure about the amount to use, take measurements of your trees’ bed areas to a local garden center.
One of the best options for general-purpose fertilization is a slow-release formula explicitly made for trees and shrubs. Down to Earth is an environmentally-friendly choice with no harsh chemicals. It’s safe to use around young trees and shrubs and won’t burn their roots. This slow-release fertilizer should be applied in holes drilled 3-6 feet deep around the drop-line of your tree.
Applying a 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 material in the fall
To determine the amount of a 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 fertilizer required for a tree, measure the diameter of the tree’s canopy at breast height, then multiply by three to find the area. The area should be approximately two to three feet around the trunk. If you’re fertilizing a landscape tree, you should only apply a granular material to the bare ground under the tree and do not fertilize the grass.
To apply a 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 fertilizer to established trees, use a granular product with high nitrogen content. To apply this product to the tree’s base soil, mix one-part Epsom salt with one part compost. Mix the soil with the mixture and water thoroughly to prevent weeds from growing. Apply the material around the tree in late fall or early spring.