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The Definitive Guide to Tree Fertilizer

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

Most homeowners believe that their trees are strong enough to flourish on their own. And the truth is, they are for the most part. But you can help yours grow stronger and healthier by frequent applications of tree fertilizer. If you're going to plant a tree, use a little fertilizer and witness the difference for yourself.

As a rule of thumb, growing trees should be fertilized at least a couple of times every year. During the early spring and summer months, you should apply tree fertilizer generously. The sun will work to maximize the benefits of your efforts. Follow that up with frequent light applications throughout the remainder of the year. Use about half of your initial application to take advantage of the slow-release action of the nutrients. Here are some suggestions for effective tree maintenance.
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Tree Fertilizer Basics

  • Organic Tree Fertilizers. These slow-release nutrient compounds come from plant and animal sources. They can be more expensive. Organic fertilizers are typically made from manure and chicken litter or bone and cottonseed meal.
  • Inorganic Fertilizers. Inorganic, commercial fertilizers are compared by the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in their mixture. Ammonium nitrate, sodium nitrate, and ammonium sulfate are the most common
  • Fertilizing Technique. Scatter a conservative amount of tree fertilizer around the trunk without getting any on the bark, stems, or leaves. Water excessively to prevent fertilizer burn on the roots.

So I've already said it. Organic tree fertilizers can be costlier than their inorganic counterparts. But it's my position that the organic option is the best. Naturally, choosing organic tree fertilizer holds the most benefits for the environment. Here's why.

The Argument for Organic

  • Improves Roots. Organic tree fertilizer improves the root system of your trees and shrubs by adding key nutrients into the photosynthetic cycle.
  • Changes Soil. Adding pine bark, saw dust, peat moss, or stable manure increases the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients.

Give your trees the help they need to grow their strongest and fullest. Compare various tree fertilizers and test them on your foliage. You'll simply love the results and your yard will, too. 

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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