How To Keep Trees Healthy: Tips for Using Tree Fertilizer

Dawn KruegerCare for New Trees, Tree Fertilizer

keep trees healthy - green leaves on summer day

Knowing how to keep trees healthy by using tree fertilizer is a complicated science. You want to make sure that your trees get the most nutrients to help them thrive and face our frigid Milwaukee winters and sometimes dry summers. However, there is no generic fertilizer for all tree service in Milwaukee. Each species has its own unique requirements. But if the soil is lacking, a balanced fertilizer will keep trees healthy and help prevent disease.

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Essential Tree Nutrients

sugar maple tree in fallThere are two types of nutrients that are essential for trees. They need Macro-nutrients in larger quantities such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Micro-nutrients are only needed in trace amounts and include iron and zinc.

Pollution and other environmental factors can also affect a tree’s health. For example, a Sugar Maple can survive in most types of soil, except where there are high levels of sodium, such as close to roadsides that are heavily salted during the winter months.

Tips for Fertilizing Trees

Test your soil

Even if your trees appear healthy, soil testing is a great way to make sure that there are no underlying issues. Sometimes trees struggle if planted or transplanted to adverse soil conditions for their species. Environmental changes such as increased pollution can upset the balance as well. A 2010 report on nutrient levels in Milwaukee soil showed an increased phosphorus level in urban parks when compared to their suburban counterparts.

How much should I fertilize?

Do not fertilize just for the sake of fertilizing. Excessive fertilizer may cause issues in healthy trees. If you do need to supplement the soil, make sure that you choose the best fertilizer for the need of your tree. Consider contacting a local arborist for an expert opinion.

When should I fertilize?

Fertilize trees in the spring to promote growth and then again in late fall to help them survive the harsh winters.

Consider companion planting

In nature, plants receive their nutrition from their environment, coexisting with their native neighbors. Flowers, shrubs and other plants that live well with your trees will create a diverse landscape that is both functional and beautiful. Garlic, for example, is a good companion crop for apple and pear trees as it enhances the fruits’ flavor.

Contact an Arborist

Still confused about how to best fertilize your trees? Let one of our ISA certified arborists help you. With our expert knowledge of trees that thrive in the Milwaukee area, we will provide you with answers to your questions. Why not give us a call at 414-355-3420 to set up an appointment for a free estimate – or contact us online!

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