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Fertilizing trees

Tree and Shrub Fertilization and Soil Enhancement: Give Your Plants What They Need to Thrive

Your trees and shrubs need some help.

You might think the trees and shrubs on your property can manage fine on their own. After all, there are forests full of them, untended by humans, and they seem to be doing great.

But a tree or shrub’s urban or suburban growing environment is a far cry from a natural forest situation. We’ve cut the forest away from them. We’ve taken away all the good top soil. We’ve built and paved all around them. While forest trees and shrubs benefit from the breakdown of leaves and other organic matter on the forest floor, the trees and shrubs on our well-kept properties typically do not.

SavATree’s professional arborists can help.

They will assess your trees and shrubs, and the soil they grow in, through laboratory soil tests and a visual inspection of your property. Then they will identify the nutrients and soil enhancements that will help them thrive. In most cases, just one or two fertilization treatments every year is sufficient to remedy nutrient deficiency, discourage disease and insect problems, and to help achieve beautiful, sustainably healthy trees and shrubs.

Soil Analysis: the First Step Toward Healthier Trees and Shrubs

The health of your trees and shrubs is directly related to the condition of the soil they grow in. That’s why our fertilization program begins with a professional laboratory analysis of soil samples from your property. The soil analysis will reveal nutrient content, the percentage of organic matter present, pH levels, as well as other data that indicates the soil’s ability to take up and retain essential nutrients, such as cation exchange capacity (CEC) and base saturation.

Our arborist will also walk your property with you to identify any surrounding site conditions that could be impacting the plants’ health, and to discuss your priorities for their care.

 

Premium Nutrition Blends, Targeted to the Needs of Your Property

Informed by the soil analysis and site inspection, our arborists will create a plan for fertilization and soil treatment that will give these woody perennials what they need to regain and sustain their health.

SavATree uses exclusive fertilizer and soil improvement products that we developed with our commercial and university agroscience partners. These premium blends, used alone or in combination, allow our arborists to give the soil the essential materials the tree or shrub needs: nutrients, organic matter, and microbes. And our biostimulant product invigorates the trees’ and shrubs’ root growth, helps them tolerate stress, and provides food for the soil microbes. By building a healthy soil and root system, your plants can access what they need to sustainably feed and hydrate themselves throughout the year.

 

ArborHealth®: the Fertilizer

ArborHealth® is SavATree’s exclusive slow release fertilizer that provides micro and macro nutrients and sea kelp to correct nutritional deficiencies and increase the plant’s growth and vigor.

Most off-the-shelf fertilizers available at your local garden center will contain three main ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (often referred to as “NPK.”) In contrast, ArborHealth® contains the critical NPK materials along with a host of additional micronutrients — rooting hormones, kelp, and carbohydrates — that stimulate root growth by feeding the microbes in the soil.

Those off-the-shelf fertilizers also tend to be high in nitrogen, which can promote diseases and insect problems in your trees and shrubs. ArborHealth® is formulated to keep the nitrogen levels lower, while boosting the levels of micronutrients and microbial foods that help build a good, healthy soil.

 

ArborKelp®: the Biostimulant

ArborKelp® is SavATree’s exclusive seaweed-based biostimulant that encourages nutrient uptake from the soil, promotes fine root growth, and heightens stress tolerance in trees and shrubs, especially during periods of dry weather and drought. This organic compound improves soil structure and augments soil microbial activity which is essential for nutrient absorption by the tree’s roots.

Since ArborKelp® helps roots more easily absorb nutrients, our arborists often use it in combined application with our ArborHealth fertilizer when trees and shrubs are struggling with long-term stress.

ArborKelp® also offers unique advantages in a variety of other specialized plant-care situations, including:

  • Newly-transplanted trees and shrubs. Because new trees and shrubs typically arrive from the nursery having already been given lots of fertilizer, our arborists do not want to apply more fertilizer right away. Instead, we want to give the transplants time to establish their root system by giving them treatments that will encourage root growth over trunk, stem, and branch growth. ArborKelp® is the perfect solution. It increases survival rates for new plantings and boosts their ability to tolerate and recover from the stresses of transplanting. (Then we can come back a year later and get them on a proper fertilization program.)

Disease- and insect-infested trees and shrubs. Since insects and tree pathogens (like fungi and bacteria) feed on nitrogen, we don’t want to make the problem worse for an infested plant by applying a high nitrogen fertilizer. Instead, we apply ArborKelp® in place of fertilizer to provide critical nutrients to the plant while it is being treated for, and recovering from, infestation. (Note: If you suspect your trees and shrubs are diseased or infested with insects, contact your arborist – they can diagnose the issue and recommend a suitable nutrition and treatment program. Learn more about our Insect Management program, our Tree Disease Treatment, and our Shrub Disease Treatment.)

ArborHealth® PLUS and ArborKelp® PLUS: Fully Customized Treatment Programs

Our arborists can create customized blends of our ArborHealth and ArborKelp mixes to suit the specific needs of your trees and shrubs. Based on the soil analysis, your arborists’ may recommend the addition of materials such as organic matter (humic acids), specific micronutrients (iron and manganese are two frequently used), sulfur (to reduce pH), lime (to raise pH), mycorrhizae, and beneficial bacteria.

Organic Soil Enhancer: the Organic Matter

SavATree’s organic soil enhancer is a unique, natural product that restores organic matter to the soil. The organic soil enhancer complements the function of fertilizer by delivering much-needed carbon-rich organic materials (humic acids) that improve the soil’s texture and drainage, and encourage beneficial soil microorganisms. Think of it is as rich compost in a liquid form.

Organic soil enhancer is useful for established trees, shrubs, and ornamentals that are deprived of organic matter due to the cleanup of fallen leaves, and for renewing soils after construction projects.

Biologic Soil Enhancers: the Microbes

SavATree’s Biologic Soil Enhancer is a blend of rich organic matter, beneficial soil bacteria, and fungi. It is designed to inoculate the soil with these beneficial organisms that work to help plants absorb the nutrients they need from the soil. This application is particularly beneficial to landscapes that have less than ideal soil conditions, or suffer from poor drainage.

Mycorrhizae: More Microbes

Depending on your arborists’ evaluation of your trees and shrubs, mycorrhizae can be added to our fertilizer mix, or applied on their own. Mycorrhizae are essential fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plant roots to increase nutrient and water availability, increase disease resistance to soil-borne pathogens, and protect vulnerable root tips during drought.

Soil Remediation Treatment

This specialized treatment is a blend of carbon-rich organic materials, polyelectrolytes, and plant-based surfactants. It removes salt and toxic materials from soil, reduces compaction and improves water and air penetration, improves nutrient availability, buffers soil pH, and improves soil structure.

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Deep Root Fertilization: Delivering Fertilizers and Soil Enhancers Where They’re Needed

Deep root fertilization is a valuable technique our arborists use to deliver nutrients and soil treatments directly to the root system of your tree or shrub.

In performing deep root fertilization, the arborists use specialized hydraulic equipment to inject liquid fertilizer and soil enhancers into the root zone about six to eight inches beneath the surface. For trees, they continue the process, spacing injection sites two to three feet apart in a grid pattern underneath the tree’s canopy and slightly beyond.

Injecting fertilizer and soil amendments into the ground under pressure efficiently replenishes depleted soil with nutrients. It also disperses and aerates compacted soil, allowing water and oxygen to reach the root hairs where absorption takes place. (In contrast: Surface fertilization,

which is appropriate in some situations, takes more time and effort, since it’s dependent on rainfall to move the nutrients underground to the plant roots. It also won’t work well on turf or sloped land.)

Only a professional arboriculture service has the equipment needed to perform deep root tree fertilization. [Learn more about the benefits of Deep Root Fertilization and see a helpful graphic depiction of the process.]

Professional tree and shrub fertilization can help you achieve beautiful, sustainably healthy plants that are an asset to your property. SavATree’s arborists are ready to help — whether you have questions about our fertilization programs, concerns about one or more of your trees and shrubs, or just want to learn more about SavATree tree and shrub care options. [Learn about the full complement of Tree Care services and Shrub Care services we offer.]