That leaves air tunnels providing much-needed aeration. You said “to suggest that the typical urban homeowner should to replace their lawn with wood chips and organic matter …. Do not let yourself overpay. Almost all residential lawns contain tree roots, and if the pesticide in weed and feed were killing trees it would be a big problem for everyone. What kind of fertilizer was applied? Makes sense, since they use significant pressure. 4.0 out of 5 stars 47. Once this is done, plants can’t tell the difference where the molecule came from. Other options New from $19.95. I was so impressed with the results that I now give ALL my trees and large bushes deep root feeding…and it shows! Would fertilizing on top at least them help fight? Several people have contacted me with a strong belief in deep root fertilization, and none of them were able to produce such a report. Your own comment says they watered very little and maybe fertilized. 2nd – LOOK at the growing environment of the tree(s). Most lawns are fed more heavily than required, and the excess fertilizer will reach the tree roots. To says that arborist fertilizer is better is simply not true. This spring I mixed in a few shrubs which will also help slow the wind. Just take normal fertilizer and spread it on the ground. Each new site would also have to be tested during irrigation to determine the depth to which nutrients are moving. Thanks for the information! But this is only true if the tree has some nutrient deficiencies which you will only know with a soil test. However, most soils in North America have plenty of phosphorous in them. I personally passed the open book Pesticide test, without even using my book with a perfect score on the subject and a close to perfect score on the safety in under 20 minutes. I was searching google for information about fertilising, and learned a lot. I am having issues with several of my trees though that needs some sort of attention…Their bark is getting dark discoloration from the ground working its way up and a couple of them are not looking so vibrant the last 2 yrs…not sure what it is. You could add soil (straight top soil), an inch a year to increase the level but this may damage the tree. I am licensed and certified for turf and ornamental fertilizer and pesticide applications. As for fertilizer, I have no idea how the pellets I used compared in analysis to the additional lawn fertilizer that he spread around the trees. The DIY root feeders may not cover the same area as the special equipment of the arborist – so the DIY amateur may have to poke a few more injection points. Just because a tree is unhealthy does not mean it is a nutrient deficiency problem. Maybe – show me the proof. Yeah, nah. Regarding MYTH#7. – If you use granular fertilizer around the base of a tree you are also fertilizing the turf at the same time and then that turf area will be greener and grow faster than the rest of the turf on the property. I’m fighting mother nature. Your one neighbor did provide better care. You are free to sell your wares to those willing to pay you, but all of these replies are sans any scientific evidence showing superior results to what the OP is advising. I never get a response and I don’t post their comment. You fertilized them and they did better. This is based on 30 years of experience. Ben – you did not read my post. A soil test will tell you if you should fertilize your trees (basically augment the soil). Putting nitrate on the lawn and watering too much will wash it deep into the soil. Purchase a slow-release, liquid fertilizer for the deep root fertilization process. Maybe your just to busy landscaping to understand tree physiology. I wish you lived here in AZ. In the second case you should do nothing. You state that if leaves are removed and grass is planted under trees then fertilizer might be needed. The reality is that most landscape trees do not need to be fertilized at all. Promotes Expansion of Root System. When I checked on prices several years ago it would have cost $300 for a large tree on a hill vs $30 of fertilizer spread on the ground. 2) Runoff. tx. Are you suggesting that any tree in a turf yard should not need root water applied fertilizer? In summary, I would not hesitate to suggest that amateurs might benefit from DYI root feeders for fertilizing and watering trees. They are both very healthy. The fungus and mold in mulch is a good thing – it helps develop good soil and is the natural way wood chips decompose. I never fertilize. It is effective, and I have the results many times. However, you can recreate the process for home use without using high-powered equipment. This method is the most effective in a bed without ground cover or grass. Some plants have shallow root systems and some have very deep root systems but I have found it difficult to find scientific studies describing the root systems of various plants. I believe I can transfer some of the aged hardwood to a few areas. Also remember that a soil report is time dependent, a 3 year old soil report is not a good representation of what you soil needs. Nutrients are not likely the problem. Fertilize your trees using the deep root system in the early spring and early fall. Many trees (especially fruit and nut) require micro-nutrients to sustain proper fruit production. – I am not aware of any deep root feeding equipment that injects deeper than about 6 inches. I have a tree suffering from severe iron clorosus, what is your solution if fertilizer for trees is a waste of money as you stated. Let’s look at each of these nutrients. I also plant for zone 5 because we get some fierce below zero for days on end with wind. Nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade, and reading the information provided from both the defenders and the offenders makes it clear to me that you are right. Obviously he feels $300 is “completely misleading”. When to apply fertilizer. I am located close to the coast in Texas. P and K will move more slowly, but they are probably not the nutrient that is deficient. My neighbor and I both agreed that my trees appeared to be growing faster than his, we didn’t measure watering but knew that as it was based on need by the lawn, it was similar. In your article you said, ” I hope to do a future post looking more closely at DIY deep root fertilization.”…any chance you did that? then treat the problem. Have a look at for more details. Wow. MYTH #7: The root system of a tree is a mirror image of the top. uncommon in mature trees. Trees of texas in houston texas has fed my trees on my 300 acre ranch at least once a year since 1984 had they not i believe i wood have a desert. I had added the following after another comment about DIY deep root fertilization: Note added June 2014: One of the people adding a comment below suggested that deep root fertilization could be done as a DIY (do it yourself) project using a very simple device available from hardware stores. It is a form of fertilizing that works. When done properly that’s exactly what deep root feeding with a liquid injector does. I am not convinced it is worth the effort. The less compacted soils with allow more oxygen into the soil and allow roots to spread more freely. You had some trees that were not doing well. Provided the fertilizer is applied above the root system, then yes it would work. Is it the best way to fertilize trees? As for Bret’s comments, in my opinion a number of them seemed valid. Helps Restore Nutrients from Soil. Keep in mind that roots grow where they can get three things; nutrients, water, and air. With the use of commercial apparatus some fertilizers can be put into the soil by pressure, which gives the added important advantage of loosening and aerating the root-soil area. Commercial landscapers use high-powered equipment for the process. In each case I respond to them and ask them for scientific evidence that deep root fertilization works better than surface fertilization. There’s no faster, better or more economical way to get needed (yes needed) fertilizer, micronutrients and michorhiza to those trees. “You’ll never be able to save them,” each predicted. I started my Gan Eden approx. It might have killed the top buds. U-Form urea formaldehyde for long term feeding. I also want to point out that i never said arborist services were not valuable. Fertilizing your trees and shrubs can replenish the nutrients lost during the summer months. If it is a nutrient deficiency problem, it is still best and most economical to fertilize on the soil surface. Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Mist – Huge Fertilizer Ripoff, Ginkgo Biloba Tree Myths – The Maidenhair Tree, Plants Don’t Produce Oxygen (O2) From Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Understanding Soil – A New Course Offered by Mother Earth News, Neem Oil Insecticide and Fungicide For Plants, Increasing Humidity for Indoor Plants – What Works and What Doesn’t, The Myth of Growing High Nutrient Density Food. My husband commented the other day that ALL the trees have already grown anywhere from 1" to 3" since he planted them! In normal situations trees do not die from lack of nutrients. Sometimes even blending in with grass roots.This method is very effective, i have nurtured plant stocks back from severe deer damage and insect damage. You still have runoff of excess fertilizer. Broadcast a granular fertilizer uniformly on the soil under the shrub and a little beyond the drip line of the shrub (refer to the illustration above). Fertilizer that is placed below this level does little for the tree and is in fact environmentally harmful. Create the holes around the diameter of the tree, placing the holes 2 to 3 feet apart. I don’t agree with some of your comments. It’s best to fertilize trees when they are dormant (late fall) to help stimulate root growth which helps establish roots before the main growing season. Bio-fertilizer are best . Does it work? I did not see any specific fertilizer mix or quantity recommendation though. Replied April 13, 2016, 10:30 AM EDT. But folks do waste money often. I never said home owners should pour fertilizer all over their lawns – maybe you should reread the posting. 97 $14.95 $14.95. 1st off – To have a blanket statement of “It’s a waste of money!” is borderline ignorant. Most trees and shrubs in a landscape do not need to be fertilized. I’ve also wanted to put down garden myths designed to make the nursery business more money. Water does the same thing. It does not compare top fertilization with deep root fertilization. To summarize your story. It’s made from rice bran and castor meal, which provide a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids. This usually includes the soil up 1.5 to 2 times the diameter of the branch spread. Applying fertilizer to the soil surface has serious consequences with root development while applying it too deep is like you said – a waste of money. I find it difficult to believe that root feeding of trees is a waste of money. Forty years later, you wouldn’t know that the four trees on my property and my friend’s (since moved) property had the same start as those on the rest of the street. I got hooked on the freshness and flavor. My conclusions are based on the movement of fertilizer in soil and the fact that I have not been able to find a single research report to confirm deep root fertilization works better than surface fertilization. If you are looking for real experts in plant nutrition, don’t talk to a gardener or aborist but check the hydroponic scene for their advice. Understanding hydroponics is not the same as knowing plants in the soil. Many people envision a large, branching taproot growing deep into the soil. The spores of both fungi and bacteria float in the air easily and reach all parts of the soil. Many trees do benefit from a tree fertilization program which utilizes a slow release nitrogen. Deep root fertilization is a controlled fertilization process that involves sending the feed directly to the root system. It is the feeder roots that take up the majority of nutrients and water. Final thoughts – Get your soil tested. I used preen and hand pulling to keep the weeds down over the years until I could begin the under-planting, but I believe the Preen had a very negative effect on the soil (as well as very hot sun after hay mowing) I thought the soil could use a little microbe help…you still think its a waste of money? That kids is straight from the ANSI 300. the problem is that very deep fertilization will miss the sweet zone of root depth. This is what the ISA says: “you don’t need to perform “deep root fertilization” to reach their root system-most, of the trees’ fibrous, absorbing roots are in the top eight inches of soil”. Here’s something else that hasn’t been mentioned. If a tree is suffering from a nutrient deficiency, you should not use a slow release fertilizer. My original post only looked at one specific service they provided. I hope to do a future post looking more closely at DIY deep root fertilization. Better food and at a price . $53.69 $ 53. We either have too much rain or too little.We have a local expert that recommends deep root watering to 18″ and fertilize only with an organic. Feeding provides nutrients for both. I have heard from a number of arborists, but you are the first one to provide a reasonable price for the service. excellent service. Using the referenced article from the ISA you stated that the ISA recognizes DRF as a gardening Myth. The feeder roots of evergreen trees and shrubs are very shallow and excessive rates of quick-release fertilizer can damage them. We live in KW where the soil is quite hard-apcked and rocky due local eskers and moraines, so trees need all the help they can get. this is a joke, right?”. Natural Weed Killers – Do Organic Herbicides Work? Is this true? I am not an arborist, just an amateur gardener for many years. I have experimented in areas by watering heavy only to find when I pull back the mulch its bone dry underneath (1/4″ or 2″ how much mulch didn’t matter) it repelled water. Is it the best way to fertilize trees? Injection directly into tree. I searched the site but saw no follow up. It is very common for people to reach for fertilizer when a plant is doing poorly. In this situation the original post is still correct. The soil test will give you this information, except for nitrogen. The place I have lived for almost 42 years now, back in the 60’s about 15 feet of soil was removed over a two acre parcel and used to provide fill (330 thousand cu yards or some such huge amount) for a causeway into the local town. You mention that deep watering may be wasting water and fertilizer that misses the feeder roots – this I don’t know. Fact: In fact if phosphates become too high it can block uptake of micro nutrients and can cause your tree to become chlorotic if they become deficient in micro nutrients. Fertilizer and water that is applied to the surface, moves down through the soil layers. Please RSVP. would it hurt to add a few inches of good peaty rich soil? Too much nitrogen can burn the shallow roots of the avocado tree. Most soil, at least in North America, contains the nutrients the tree needs. We have mostly red clay soil and the mulching of the pathways has really made a difference in the soil. Deep root feeding also gives me the option of injecting nutrients directly into the root ball of the tree quickly and easily. Avail. An understanding of tree physiology would explain the problem with this. That would be an interesting study. Interesting Blog post, however you did not answer your original questions: Does it work? They do say you do not need DRF to reach the roots in top 8 inches of soil and that is true, but what is not stated in this article is this is one of the quickest methods. And then there was the fact I have so many different plants growing under them, miniature ferns, hosta, astilbe Now adding bulbs, different flowers (most of what I plant are miniatures or dwarf) to name a few and now starting a moss garden. This is what the International Society of Agriculture says: That has caused a mass of roots in the grass that crowds out the grass. Inorganic nitrogen based tree food sources are sodium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium sulfate. As a person who provides such services, I will say on average, the first tree is usually $75 and $20 per tree there after. Does it relieve compaction? One other neighbor had the same interest in his yard as we did, the boulevard grass on both lots was given the same care as the full lawn, regularly fertilized and watered as required. I own a lawn and landscape company in the Kansas City area. How do you determine what kind and how much for each tree is healthy? You can dig a hole 1-2 feet deep, and if you have it, you will know. locally: Milorganite organic nitrogen fert for lawns 4% iron, 5-2-0, it states slow release, but 5 seems like such a low number compared to a company who makes fertilizer per species of tree and an example of their fert for birch was 8-15-30 and spruce 17-17-14, and a grouping of acid loving 15-30-8 to be entered 4″-8″ below surface. But the reaction to deep root fertilisation by arborists is stunning. In general, the roots extend well beyond the outer reach of a tree's branches. The morning gardeners show, learning to garden so that I can feed myself . North Dakota State University Cooperative Extension: Fertilizing Trees, North Carolina State University: Fertilizing Deciduous Shade Trees in the Landscape. The top layer will certainly have more air. Neither of these validate the process. We are in the dolomite valleys of the Appalachian mtns in Virginia. Jobe’s 01310 1310 Fertilizer; 2. If you have sever chlorosis – you should first get a soil test done. Under pressure the water and fertilizer tend to take the path of least resistance, which is very often influenced by the same factors that “force” root development. I know, the response would be “plant the proper tree for the proper soil” . This is not true, the Myth they state is the shape and depth of the root system. Fed it nitrogen granules last Wednesday and watered it in well. See what’s missing. 6th – Again, LOOK at the growing environment. Sir give me answer how much time take an apple tree to absorb fertilizer from root to fruit. You can not reach any conclusion about the importance of deep root fertilization compared to any other method including no fertilizer at all. Robert, DIY’s never factor in gas to store, time spent researching, time spent applying. Recent construction done around the tree? Therefore, look at the growing environment! Because an Arborist can concoct a fertilizer/fungicide mix to help with disease and improve nutrient deficiency. Water and nitrogen don’t move up nearly as well as down. Fertilize the total root area Fertilize shade trees throughout the area occupied by the root system. Tree roots grow at least twice as far from the trunk as the branches do. This can be a problem. Actually no tree needs deep root fertilization! Deep Root Fertilization does work. I never said any such thing and this posting has nothing to do with lawns? Fertilizer for avocado trees should specifically have an NPK fertilizer ratio of 20% (N)-10% (P)-10% (K) or 21% (N) ‐7 % (P) ‐14% (K). It is not that the roots are coming above ground–the top of the ground is getting lower and exposing the roots. It will also depend on which nutrient it is. To Jim, so many things wrong with your response I don’t really know where to begin. This is why it is a bad idea to amend soil in permanent plantings. Have a look at this for an example: Roots grow where it is easiest to grow and where they get the nutrients they need–they are opportunistic. ” You are either struggling with reading comprehension or you truly don’t know nearly as much about tree care as you would have people believe. I agree that by applying synthetic or salt based fertilizers via deep root fertilization can be a waste of money.

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