Recently, I was talking to Jeff about fall tree-care. He mentioned that fertilization is something that can be a benefit to trees in the autumn, but most homeowners tend to think of tree fertilizing as a spring or summer job. So I asked a few more questions!
(Me) Why is fertilization in the fall so important?
(Jeff) Fall fertilization benefits the tree by providing nutrients when the roots are most active. This encourages root growth, even when the tree appears "dormant", and helps the tree to resume growth in the spring. Nutrients are used immediately and are also stored for uptake in the spring.
What does TreeMasters use when you fertilize?
TM uses a slow-release, organic fertilizer that contains a micronutrient package as well as beneficial soil inhabiting bacteria. We also incorporate high concentrations of humates and sea kelp. This product is delivered under pressure which mechanically fractures the subsoils.
Why is this better?
Trees need slow-release fertility. The Humate (Humic acid) adds organic matter to the soil, increases biological activity in the soil (incl. earthworms), stimulates root growth, and improves soil structure. Bottom line - we are changing your soil to more closely imitate rich, natural, undisturbed soil.
What happens to trees if you don’t fertilize them?
Since most trees are in lawns, their tree root zones lack organic matter, because people remove leaves and fallen limbs which nature would recycle. Soil compaction and competition with grass guarantees poorer conditions for root growth. It has been demonstrated that a tree’s roots are about 5 times more dense under mulch than under grass. Homeowners desire turf, but to mulch the entire root zone of their trees is impractical. The alternative is routine fertilization with humates. Without fertilization, many urban trees become more susceptible to problems and are predisposed to injury.
Jeff Ling is a Registered Consulting Arborist and Co-Founder of TreeMasters, Inc., a full service arbor-care company, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. TreeMasters provides tree owners with scientific tree management services throughout Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio.