You might need tree and shrub fertilization if your soil has nutrient deficiencies.
Our trees are a lot like us. Even with a great diet, they might need a little help in the supplement department.
Too much use and abuse can also cause deficiencies. Fertilizers and nutrient additions are saturating the market, but how can you tell what your soil really needs?
Trees need 17 key nutrients to thrive. Utah State University Extension horticulturist Jerry Goodspeed says all 17 are critical, but you might need bigger quantities of some nutrient.
The major nutrients and micro nutrients need to be perfectly balanced for a healthy yard. Major nutrients include carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
The great news is that these three are totally free and come from air and water. However, if your soil has too much water, your plants’ roots aren’t getting enough oxygen and can die.
The Little Things
Micro nutrients include nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. For most fertilizers, these three are in ample supply. Nitrogen is the pickiest of nutrients, requiring annual replenishment. You’ll need it for green plants.
Luckily, most soil has enough potassium and phosphorous already. A soil test can tell you if any extra nutrition is necessary. Nutrients largely found in fertilizers, and not naturally in all soil, include calcium, sulfur and magnesium.
However, Utah soil is usually rich with magnesium and calcium (lucky us!). Sometimes Utah plants need a little sulfur boost to minimize acidity.
All remaining nutrients are important, but you only need trace amounts. Nickel, manganese, copper, boron and more are routinely found in Utah soil. If you do need to supplement your soil, choose the most organic matter possible (like manure). This reduces the odds of any problems.
Iron Man (and Tree)
The one nutrient that’s really fickle is iron, and it’s a common problem. Too much acid and water can compromise iron levels and make iron-rich soil inaccessible to plants.
Unfortunately, most commercial iron fertilizers don’t get the job done. Avoid overwatering, only use organic matter, and if you really need a supplement, consider iron chelates. A reputable tree care specialist can provide the highest quality chelates.
The best way to ease your worries is to start with a simple soil test and let it dictate your next move. No matter the nutrient levels, consistently adding organic matter can only help. If you’re not sure where to get started, rely on local professionals to care for your trees and shrubs like their own. Call Reliable Tree care today and get a healthier, more beautiful landscape in just a few months with proper fertilization strategies.