When Should I Fertilize My Trees? – Your Top Fertilizer Questions Answered

Date April 29, 2022


Author TreeNewal Staff

Spring is the time of year when many homeowners and property managers start to think about fertilizing their trees. Fertilizer can help your trees grow big and strong, but it’s important to fertilize them properly or you could do more harm than good. In this blog post, we’ll answer some of your top questions about tree fertilization so that you can make the best decision for your property!

So How Do I Know If My Trees Need Fertilizer?

Perhaps the most important place to start in the process is how to determine if your trees even need fertilizer or not!

Your tree may need fertilizer if:

  1. There is only a very small amount of growth at best, even after having established and gotten plenty of hydration.
  2. Around midsummer, the tree’s leaves are a yellowed color rather than its appropriate shade of green.
  3. You notice the tree’s leaves shrinking in size each year.
  4. Its leaves are changing colors and dropping prematurely.

When Should I Fertilize My Trees?

Springtime is a great time for adding some fresh fertilizer around your trees, but it can be done year-round. The key is using slow-release products that are safe for roots in the summer and will keep nutrients available during the dormant season when roots are still active.

However, if drought is an issue where you are (and if you’re in Texas, this definitely applies to you), leave the trees showing signs of distress out of your fertilizing plans during those risky, dry months.

How Much Fertilizer Does a Tree Need?

It’s recommended you can apply as much as 3 pounds of nitrogen for every 1000 square feet every year, but trees may not need nearly this much nitrogen. The age and size of a tree, the species, and the soil type can all influence how much should be applied.

What Kind of Fertilizer Should I Use?

We at TreeNewal generally recommend you apply a balanced blend of fertilizer, though including appropriate soil conditioning will facilitate the most beneficial impact.

Should I Fertilize My Trees Every Year?

Newly planted trees still in their development phase but after their first growing season needs to be consistently fertilized up to twice annually to help support their root establishment. Mature trees generally need lower amounts of nitrogen to keep their foliage and health in good condition.

Can You Over Fertilize a Tree?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to apply too much fertilizer and, even worse, end up killing the tree because of it.

Signs of Over-Fertilization

  • A coating of crusted fertilizer on top of the soil
  • Discoloration and shriveling of the lower canopy
  • Browned edges of leaves
  • Discolored, poorly-developed roots
  • Severe loss of leaves
  • Delayed or lapsed growth
  • Damage to or death of sprouts

What Happens When You Under Fertilize?

Using too little fertilizer can lead to stalled growth, frail or discolored leaves, and decreased blooming if your tree has flowers or bears fruit.

Is It Better to Over- or Under Fertilize?

Between the two, only over-fertilizing can cause burning or even death to the tree and/or its nearby grass. So, if you’re not sure about the right amount, be conservative with your application, or better yet, call in the advice of a professional arborist to make sure your trees are getting everything they need right from day one!

If you need advice or assistance with fertilizing your trees this spring, get in touch with the ISA-Certified Arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.

To learn more about When Should I Fertilize My Trees?, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

We’re a little different than the average tree services company.

Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!

Our Dallas/Fort Worth-based tree doctors can explain how sustainable tree care services add more value to your bottom line.

Healthy trees, healthy lives.