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What Should I Feed My Tree?in Tips and Tutorials
Although billions of trees indeed grow across the planet without human intervention, they are adapted to their environments and are naturally selected to thrive on what’s nearby. Young trees and species that aren’t endemic to your front yard may require a little extra care, and even native species may occasionally benefit from a supplement to their soil.
Soil contains a range of nutrients that provide sustenance to the roots of a tree. Fertilizer helps to restore a healthy balance of these nutrients once they have been depleted. Most commercial fertilizers administer a mix of the three most-common minerals: nitrogen, phosphate (phosphorous), and potash (potassium).
That’s what the numbers on a bag of fertilizer are, for example, a 20-20-20 product is a balanced blend, while an 18-4-8 is high in nitrogen. Fertilizers also come in quick- and slow- release types, the latter of which is usually the most recommended.
Feed Your Tree What It Needs
If you’re not sure what the soil composition in your area is like, it’s good to have a soil test done. Soil testing is inexpensive and easy, and it’s generally recommended to better tailor your treatment to what is needed. But testing isn’t strictly necessary; if a supplement is required, a general-purpose fertilizer can cover all the bases, and many companies make products specifically for trees and shrubs.
When Is Fertilizer Necessary?
If your tree seems unhappy, i.e. if leaves discolour early in the season, or there is a lack of noticeable growth over time, then a nutrient deficiency may be the cause. Soil testing is the only way to know for sure, but most trees and especially young ones, can benefit from an application of general-purpose or tree fertilizer in the spring.
It’s the best-practice to know your soil and provide supplementary nutrients as needed—before your plants start to show signs of suffering. Keeping your soil balanced will keep your tree happy and healthy for years to come.
Art Knapp has 15 locations across British Columbia and is well known as the go-to garden centre for everything garden-related. Art Knapp, himself, began the business in the 1940's, and now, 80 years later, you can find more than he ever dreamed of in our stores. Come and see us on King George Boulevard in Surrey.
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