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Why fertilize trees and shrubs?

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Many people don't understand the importance of proper nutrient and care for the root systems of trees and shrubs. After all, trees seem to grow just fine in the woods without fertilization. The main reason fertilization is important is that landscape plants grow in a vastly different environment than native trees in natural woods areas.

In our landscapes, the following scenarios often can be found with regularity:

1. Interruption of the nutrient cycle: organic material such as leaves are removed from the yard and not allowed to stay under the tree to break down into future nutrients for the tree or shrub.

2. Soil disturbance: it takes thousands of years for nature to create the proper soil profile ideal for plant growth. In the course of constructing homes and buildings the soil grading can alter this native profile dramatically. Soil is scrapped, cut and filled around trees. Often subsoil, topsoil and organic matter is reshuffled around before being spread back out to create lawns and landscaped areas for existing and future plants. These reconstituted soils often are not conducive for plant growth.

3. Lack of soil volume- roots need space and often in our urban environment there simply is not enough permeable areas for water to infiltrate into soil that can be readily used by the plant.

4. Soil compaction- trees and people don't often get along well. Over time the soil underneath a tree can become compacted from human activities, this includes vehicles and even foot traffic. Compaction crushes the little pores (air spaces) between soil particles and does not allow enough water to be captured. Tight soil particles that have been compacted also make it harder for roots to penetrate and grow.

5. Soil chemistry- many of local trees such as birches, oaks and red maples tend to like the soil to be slightly acidic, while in SE Wisconsin our soil is slightly alkaline. This can put stress on trees roots and lead to health issues such as chlorosis (yellowing leaves) on the tree.

Fertilization does not perform miracles, but over time can help improve the growth, health and longevity of plants. Hoppe Tree Service fertilization programs contain slow release nutrients that are utilized by the tree roots throughout the year. Our complete fertilizer contains a balance of essential elements (N,P,K) and micronutrients required for plant growth. The treatment improves soil fertility, and since it's soil injected it provides uniform coverage to the root system. As the liquid is pushed into the ground through our pressurized system it helps improve the porosity of the soil which increases the water capacity of the soil.

Healthy roots are the foundation to good growing trees and shrubs.

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