In the forest, trees get plenty of nutrients. Organic materials decay, the soil is not compacted or disturbed, and the trees are free to spread their roots wide to soak up all the nutrients they need. In the modern yard, this is not the case. We sweep away potential nutrients, compress the soil with hardscaping and landscaping, and plant grass around our trees that competes with them for necessary resources. Fortunately, you can give your trees what they need by using the right kind of fertilizer.
- First, let’s talk about what plants, trees, and shrubs need to live their best lives. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the big three, and then there’s also micronutrients like calcium and boron. When plants don’t get the proper nutrients in the right balance, they can suffer from stunted growth in their leaves, stems, and roots. They also become vulnerable to damage from pests and disease.
- How do you know what your trees are lacking? One way to find out is by using a soil pH tester kit or a nutrient test kit. This can help you identify what’s missing and determine your soil’s pH. Plants need nitrogen for healthy foliage, phosphorus for root development and fruit and seed production, and potassium to grow beautiful flowers and fruits.
- Learn the lingo when you’re shopping for fertilizer. Fertilizer companies indicate on their packaging the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are represented by their chemical symbols: N for nitrogen, P for phosphorus, and K for potassium. If the fertilizer packaging says “N-P-K 8-4-12”, for instance, that means it has 8 percent nitrogen, 4 percent phosphorus, and 12 percent potassium. Because it’s high in nitrogen and slightly higher in potassium, this kind of fertilizer would be good for a shrub with big, showy flowers, like a hydrangea.
- Trees have specific needs, depending on their stage of life. In the soil and climate of the Southwest, fertilization is important to the health and appearance of trees and plants at all stages of life. In the spring and fall months, almost all trees should be fertilized monthly in the spring and fall.
- Young trees need more fertilizer to develop into strong trees. Feeding young trees from spring through fall will encourage them to grow and thrive.
- When trees are fruiting, they need extra nutrients. Fertilizing them when their fruit is setting will help them produce an abundant crop.
- Mature trees aren’t growing as quickly, but still need the extra nutrients provided by fertilization. Fertilizing them in the spring and fall will help them stay healthy throughout their lifespan.
No matter what you need for your yard, the experts at Moon Valley Nurseries can help. Moon Valley Nurseries started as a small neighborhood nursery, and now has locations all across the West. We deliver and plant anything in our massive inventory, and because we grow our plants ourselves, we can give our customers the lowest prices in town, guaranteed. Whether you need a tree or two or an entire landscape, our friendly staff members will go the extra mile to make you happy. Contact us through our website, call us at (602) 388-1529, or stop by to check out all we have to offer, from the best trees and plants to professional crews and planters to certified designers ready to make your yard the best in the neighborhood.