Should I fertilize my trees?

Trees often require fertilization at some point in their life span to replace the nutrients they are missing. Shade trees, like any other landscape plants, will respond to fertilization. Often trees growing in restricted root zone areas are surrounded by pavement, compacted soil, and/or have been physically damaged by construction activities. A trees root system is just as important and sensitive as the above ground parts.

Symptoms of a nutrient deficient tree include:

  • a slow rate and low amount of annual growth on twigs and trunk
  • smaller than normal foliage
  • off-color foliage
  • increased amounts of dead branches
  • tip-die back in branches
  • increased rates of disease and insect problems

Make sure that the lack of nutrients is the problem before fertilizing. Other common tree disorders to be aware of in urban areas would include poor planting techniques, moisture problems, construction damage, girdling roots, or utility leaks from a natural gas line or sewer line.