Soil provides physical support for the root system of a tree. It regulates water and filters pollutants for plant life. Healthy soil promotes tree growth. Unhealthy soil can stress a tree. In nature, soil contains nutrients that support healthy plants, including trees. When dead branches and leaves decompose on the forest floor, they provide vital nutrients to the soil. In yards, the leaves and fallen limbs are swept away, preventing the dead foliage from becoming part of the circle of life. Soil quality diminishes unless homeowners take action to replenish the nutrients that are lost. Fertilizers provide minerals and nutrients to the soil to establish healthy trees.
How Healthy Is Your Soil?
Trees reflect the health of your soil. These symptoms can indicate that your soil lacks nutrients:
- Undersized leaves, few leaves
- Dead branches
- Shorter than normal twig growth
- Discolored leaves in the spring and summer
- Leaf veins that are darker than the leaf margins, the edges of the leaf
Because there are many reasons that a tree can experience poor growth and development, it’s important to discuss your situation with an ISA Certified Arborist who can expertly diagnose your specific problem.
What Can Be Done to Improve Soil Health?
There’s an entire field of science dedicated to the study of soil. Soil is complex, and soil conditions directly affect plant health. Fertilizer is often thought of as food, but that’s a misnomer. Plants make their own food through photosynthesis, but they may still need nutrients that help them stay healthy. Adding products that improve soil quality can benefit the plants in your yard, not only your trees.
Fertilizer is the vitamin supplements of the plant world. Just as you can’t subside on a daily vitamin, plants need more than fertilizer. Natural fertilizers, such as compost or pelletized chicken manure, help your trees and plants stay healthier all year long and improve overall soil quality over time. Back to Nature in Lubbock offers a specialized compost spreader for your entire landscape. You can also use a standard pelletized gypsum to reduce soil pH and salt buildup for healthier trees. Although you may not see immediate benefits, soil quality can be improved over time.
At Hildebrandt Tree Tech, we have products that benefit your trees. We use a liquid fertilizer, injected deep into the soil to get past the roots of the grass to allow the tree roots to more effectively access the product. We make sure to get good coverage around the tree. The solution we inject includes a soil amendment product that improves soil quality and makes nutrients more available to the trees. We also include a vitamin solution to the mixture. Our product also has a buffering agent that lowers the pH of the fertilizer solution for better nutrient absorption and a mycorrhizal fungus product that works with the root system of the tree to increase water and nutrient absorption.
What Not To Do When Fertilizing Trees
Fertilizing your yard does have some benefits to your trees, but your lawn and trees fight for the same nutrients. Using the right fertilizers for your trees is important. West Texas soils tend to have increased salt content. Some manmade fertilizers have a higher salt content, which isn’t good for your trees. Talk to an arborist about the correct type of fertilizer for your trees and soil.
Granular weed and feed products for your lawns may not be suitable for use near or around trees. The weed control chemicals in this product target broadleaf weeds, but trees are a broadleaf plant. Anything you put on your lawn can affect your trees. Lawn care professionals, while well-meaning, often forget that trees need separate care than lawns. Fortunately, many products benefit both lawns and trees to increase soil quality. Use organic products designed to benefit trees without impacting the long-term health of your soil.
Contact a Professional Arborist
If you’ve got questions about soil and fertilizer for your trees, contact the certified arborists with Hildebrandt Tree Tech. We’re a full-service tree company with experience maintaining West Texas trees to help your landscape look beautiful and stay healthy.