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Why we Deep Root Feed our Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

September 27, 2020

Why we Deep Root Feed our Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

Just as your lawn requires regular fertilization for overall health, vitality and beauty, so do your landscape trees and shrubs. Why? Because trees and shrubs are plants, living organisms, which require food in order to live and thrive. This is why a comprehensive maintenance program will include tree and shrub care in addition to scheduled lawn care visits. The key nutrients are the same—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—as are the issues with organic versus synthetic fertilizers (efficacy and absorption rates differ between the two). Despite these similarities, however, we don’t feed trees and shrubs quite the same way, nor do we need to feed them as often. Let’s take a closer look.

Deep Root Feeding Trees and Shrubs

When we feed a lawn, we apply fertilizers evenly across the lawn’s surface. The fertilizer materials reach the soil where they are absorbed and made available to the grass plants via their root systems (even more so if the lawn has been aerated at least once a year). By comparison, trees and shrubs tend to have larger, deeper root systems. Because not all nutrients are as mobile in the soil as others, surface fertilization may not be sufficient to reach those tree and shrub root systems. In addition, surface feeding trees and shrubs with the necessary fertilizer quantities may adversely affect the surrounding turf, whether by causing excessive growth or outright damage. A better way to feed trees and shrubs is to put the nutrients deeper into the soil. There are several methods commonly used to for this purpose, some easier than others to carry out. Spring-Green accomplishes this through a process called deep root feeding.

Using specialized professional equipment, we inject liquid fertilizers into the root zone of targeted trees and shrubs. The most effective way to do this is to make intermittent grid patterns of pressurized soil injections beginning about a foot away from the base and ending within the perimeter of the “drip line” or canopy of a given tree or shrub. The individual injection sites are about two feet away from one another and six inches deep. Smaller shrubs receive injections equally spaced around the perimeter, as close to the base as is practical. This pattern of hydraulic injections places the nutrients right in the root zone, where targeted trees and shrubs can access them.

Which Trees and Shrubs Should Be Fertilized?

Deep root fertilization is most beneficial to ornamental trees and shrubs, as opposed to mature shade trees, which are much larger and tend not to require supplemental nutrition. These smaller trees and shrubs will take up the injected nutrients and utilize them for enhanced growth and vigor above ground as well as better root development below. They will become healthier overall and more resistant to disease and insect infestation.

Spring-Green recommends deep root feeding twice a year, once in spring and again in the fall, as prescribed in our 2-Step Tree Program, which incorporates additional benefits as well. Customers may schedule an individual root feeding or opt for this comprehensive two-step program. When homeowners consider the investment they have already made in their landscape plantings, especially in light of the cost of replacing ornamental trees and shrubs, our tree and shrub care services prove to be of real value.

While reading this post, you may have developed a few questions of your own. Which of my trees and shrubs need deep root feeding? We can explain which plants should be targeted and why. Should I schedule a single service or a full program? We can discuss both options. Can I start in the fall? Yes, absolutely, whether you opt for a single service or full program. We would love to hear your questions concerning any aspect of tree and shrub care or lawn care for your home.