Even the biggest and most well-established trees won’t remain strong if they don’t receive the nutrients they need. Fertilizing your trees and shrubs to add nutrients back into the soil for the plant’s roots is a critical part of tree care. And if your trees have off-color leaves or look weak, that’s a sign that they’re missing one or more of the nutrients they need.
Summer heat and drought can put a lot of stress on your trees and shrubs, inviting disease. The beginning of fall—as temperatures cool and the soil regains moisture—is one of the best times to fertilize. In Southeastern PA, plan your fall fertilization between late September through November.
Benefits of Fall Tree Fertilization
Fall tree fertilization offers an incredible number of benefits to keep your trees looking strong and healthy throughout the year. Fertilization with a high-quality fertilizer will strengthen your trees in three main ways:
- Replace Nutrients
Without the necessary nutrients, trees suffering from disease or drought won’t have what they need to recover. Fall fertilization replaces nutrients missing from the soil so trees can recover and prepare for the cold months ahead.
- Reduce Tree Stress
Drought, disease, and harmful insects all create stress for trees and shrubs. Treating your trees will reduce or eliminate that stress so they have energy to put towards new growth or fight off insects or disease.
- Support Tree Root Development
You can’t have a strong tree without strong roots. Fall fertilization is one way to protect your tree’s root system, ensure its roots are strong and healthy headed into winter, and support new root growth. Strong roots will also help reduce stress.
Trees in Southeastern PA Need Added Nutrients
In a perfect world, leaves would fall from trees, decompose into the ground, and turn into compost that would feed nutrients back into the tree completing the cycle. In our region, however, most of the ground is now residential or farmed land. As a result, homeowners must rake leaves away from their trees, shrubs, and grass each fall. While removing those leaves in the fall is important for the health of your grass and lawn, and the cleanliness of your property, it means leaves aren’t there to feed your trees. Land development has also removed most of the topsoil in our region, stripping away many of the naturally occurring nutrients trees and shrubs would rely on for survival.
Developed lands can be inhospitable to plants so we need to return those nutrients to the ground if we want trees and shrubs to grow in our backyards.
The Type of Fertilizer You Use Matters for Tree Health
The fertilizers you’ll find at your big box stores and garden centers offer some nutrients, but not as many as most trees require to stay healthy. The commercial fertilizer our team uses, for instance, includes a strong concentration of nutrients that you can only find by working with a professional plant health care specialist.
Our fertilizers are also customized to the specific need of each individual tree. Some tree and shrub species need more iron or manganese. Ideal pH level needs can also vary by species. Our plant care specialists determine the needs of your specific trees and shrubs and customize a fertilizer to meet their needs.
The best way to care for your trees and shrubs is with a custom fertilization treatment. Our plant care specialists and certified arborists will evaluate your tree’s health needs and create a custom fertilization treatment to keep your trees healthy year-round. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.