Crash Course in Tree Fertilizers: How to Choose the Best One

tree fertilizer

There are many misconceptions about tree fertilizers. Most people don’t realize that not all tree fertilizers are created equal – different trees and soil types will yield different results – and tree fertilizer isn’t the miracle-in-a-bag that will save your trees. This article will serve as a crash course in tree fertilizers – we’ll discuss how to choose the best one for your needs, as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks of different types!

Does it NEED Fertilizer?

Many established trees will never need fertilizer, while others will benefit from periodic applications. The best way to determine if your tree needs fertilizer is to have a soil test done. Most tree roots are relatively shallow, so even if the topsoil looks healthy, the tree may not be getting all of the nutrients it needs from just that layer. A simple soil test will tell you what nutrients are already present in the dirt and which ones may be lacking.

Other Signs Your Tree Might Benefit from Fertilizer

  • If your tree is newly planted or young
  • If your tree is showing signs of poor growth such as poorly colored, pale leaves, unusually small leaf size, earlier than normal fall coloring and leaf drop, little annual twig growth, or twig or branch dieback (Note: Heavily compacted soil or poor weather conditions can also cause these symptoms)
  • If your tree is planted in sandy soil with little organic matter
tree fertilizers

Types of Fertilizer

There are two main types of tree fertilizer: organic and inorganic.

Inorganic tree fertilizers are made with synthetic chemicals and can offer a quick-fix solution for nutrient deficiencies. However, they can also harm the environment if not used correctly, as they can easily leach into groundwater. Additionally, inorganic tree fertilizers can burn tree roots if misapplied.

On the other hand, organic tree fertilizers are made from natural materials such as manure, compost, and bone meal. They release nutrients slowly over time and are much less likely to cause root burn. However, they may not be as immediately effective as inorganic tree fertilizers.

The best tree fertilizer for you will ultimately depend on your specific tree and soil type, as well as your budget and goals. If you’re unsure where to start, we recommend talking to a local tree expert. They can help you determine which product will work best for your needs!

Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Your Trees

1. Do Your Research

Before you start shopping for tree fertilizer, it’s essential to do your research. Only some products are created equal, and the best tree fertilizer for your needs may not be the most popular or well-known brand. Start by reading the label carefully. The three numbers on a fertilizer bag (known as the N-P-K ratio) will tell you the product’s percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the three most important nutrients for tree growth.

Tree and shrub growth is more often limited by a nitrogen deficiency than by a lack of other elements. As a result, trees usually respond best to fertilizer with a 2-1-1 or a 3-1-1 ratio (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium).

2. Fertilize Correctly

Once you’ve selected a fertilizer, following the application instructions carefully is important. Overfertilizing can be just as harmful as not fertilizing at all! Tree roots are sensitive to high concentrations of fertilizer, and, as we mentioned earlier, too much can cause root burn.

When applying tree fertilizer, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Talk to a tree care specialist if you need clarification on how much or how often to apply the product. They can help you create a fertilization schedule that meets your tree’s needs.

3. Consider Timing

The timing of your fertilizer application is also essential. Generally, it’s best to fertilize trees in the early spring before new growth begins. This gives the tree a chance to absorb the nutrients before it puts out fresh leaves and branches. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If your tree shows signs of nutrient deficiency, you may need to fertilize it more than once a year.

And that’s it! With some research and careful planning, you can ensure that your trees get the nutrients they need to thrive. Just remember: more is not always better when it comes to tree fertilizer. A little goes a long way!

Related Reading: Fertilizer Root Injections to Support Tree Health

Contact a Bay Area Tree Care Specialist Today

When is the Best Time of Year to Trim Trees?

best time to trim trees

When is the best time to trim trees? Whether you’re an arborist, a homeowner, or just curious about when best to prune your trees, the answer often depends on the type of tree and other factors. For example, some types of tree (like fruit trees) only need pruning in late winter while others (such as oaks) can be trimmed at any time throughout the year. In this easy guide, we’ll go over the best time to trim trees along with some other considerations, such as the effects of insects, disease, and cold weather.

Prune in Winter for Most Tree Varieties

Generally speaking, the best time to trim trees is from November through March when they’re dormant. This is because most trees are less susceptible to insect damage and disease during this time. It’s also a good idea to wait until late winter/early spring so you don’t accidentally prune away any flowers or buds that are about to bloom.

If you’re trimming a fruit tree, however, it’s best to do so in late winter when the tree is still dormant but before new growth begins. This will allow for the best shape and size of the fruit tree. Similarly, if you have a tree that blooms in the spring, it’s best not to trim it until after it flowers.

Trees best pruned in late winter:

– Apple

– Apricot

– Cherry

– Peach

– Pear

Trees best pruned in early spring:

– Crabapple

– Dogwood

– Hollies (English and American)

Keep in Mind the Effects of Insects and Disease on Trees

Insects and disease can impact a tree’s best time to trim as well. For example, if you notice that your trees are infested with bark beetles or other insects in January or February, it may be best to wait until the end of March before pruning them so that any new eggs laid will hatch out after you’ve trimmed the tree.

Similarly, if your tree is diseased, it’s best to wait until after you’ve treated the disease before pruning it. Otherwise, you may spread the infection to other parts of the tree.

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

When trimming trees, always be mindful of your surroundings and avoid damaging any nearby structures or plants. If you’re trimming a tree that overhangs the house, for example, be sure to leave at least six inches of clearance between branches and any part of your home. Similarly, if you’re trimming trees near power lines (or on steep land), it’s best to call an arborist to do the work for you.

Give Us a Call

If you are looking for the Bay Area’s favorite tree cutting service, look no further than our team of experienced arborists. At Sexy Trees, our wide range of services and care will keep your trees healthy and beautiful for decades to come. We believe in supporting our communities of trees through evidence-based techniques that you can depend on. 

Give us a call at 925-233-6877 for an estimate, or email us at [email protected] anytime with questions!

Apple Tree Care

Tree Care Concord

An apple a day keeps the doctor away but how long does it take to grow an apple? Turns out, longer than you think.

In this article we will tell you how to take care of an apple tree, the additional apple tree care required for these plants, and provide you insight into apple tree maintenance for the life of the tree.

Keep reading to learn everything you want to know about apple tree care!

Apple Tree Care Requires Time and Diligence to Bear Fruit

Fruit tree care, especially apple tree care, is different from the care needed for other trees. It’s an investment in time and nurturing that not everyone is willing to make.

An apple tree, from seedling, will take between six and ten years to produce fruit. In addition to the long maturation time, these trees can grow to 40 feet tall with roots spreading outward about that high.

You’ll have to carefully consider placement to make sure the tree stays happy and healthy so you’ll eventually be able to pluck the fruits of your labor.

The best time to plant an apple tree is in the late fall or the early spring. Make sure to pick a spot protected from major wind gusts and where the tree will have plenty of room to stretch and grow. Windy spots tend to make the fruit fall before they’ve reached their maturity.

Protecting the Tree From Pests

Apple trees are particularly susceptible to insect and disease problems. This is common with any fruit-bearing tree as they are more attractive to a variety of different types of animals, or microscopic bacteria looking for food.

When it’s warm, in the early spring or summer, get on a good routine of antifungal treatments to keep the tree in good shape. The tree will benefit from regular pruning making sure you remove any dead leaves or branches and any signs of decay.

Common Apple Tree Ailments:

  • Diseases:
    • Apple scab
    • Leaf spot
    • Rust
    • Powdery mildew
    • Fire blight
  • Creepy Crawlers:
    • Scales
    • Mites
    • Aphids
    • Apple maggot

Some common symptoms to look out for that point to an infestation or disease are:

  • Spots and/or holes on leaves or fruit
  • Stunted growth
  • White coating on leaves
  • Branch dieback
  • Yellowing or browning of foliage

It’s best to act right away if you notice any of these signs and symptoms because they can quickly spread and lead to the death of the tree.

Too Much Effort? Let Us Take Care of Your Apple Tree Care For You!

The last thing you want to do in the midst of your already busy life is fret over the apple tree in your backyard. That’s why the professionals here at Sexytrees.com want to get you on a maintenance plan today.

Let us handle the pre-treatments and when they happen. Let us make sure your apple tree has everything it needs to give you bountiful crops every single year.

Contact us today to book an appointment!

Autumn Tree Care

Tree Service Concord

Autumn is not only a beautiful season but also a brilliant time to plant many trees, along with preparing your trees for the winter season. Extensive periods of intense heat can weaken trees, making them more vulnerable to infestations. Helping your trees start to recover from the hot circumstances as they head into winter is significant to care for their long-term health, which also makes them less at risk to storms. Autumn tree care is a must for your trees.

 

Here are special instructions for outside tree care as the season changes:

 

Watering

At the start of autumn, make sure your trees are getting enough water while the weather changes from hot to cold. Water your trees until the soil freezes. Avoid watering after this point so as not to over-water the ground.  This will assure your trees have enough water to live during the winter.

 

Fertilization

As the leaves begin to change color and fall, look for signs that might point out your trees have a nutrient problem and may require fertilization. Keep in mind, fertilization can encourage rapid new growth, which could be injured in the winter, therefore, fertilize in the spring instead if possible. To conclude if your trees need fertilization, some of the things you can look for:

  • Leaves varying colors and falling earlier than usual.
  • Reduced development in branches and leaves.

 

Pruning

Make certain to remove any dead, unhealthy or spoiled branches. They all serve as points where illness or pests could enter that can cause further damage. And also, removing the dead, diseased and spoiled branches will make your trees look better. You can also trim branches that aren’t growing the way you would like.

 

Planting

Numerous trees can be planted during the autumn. Check with your local nursery to see which ones are good for autumn planting. Trees have a better chance to get their roots established because of the cold temperatures. Another benefit to planting trees during the autumn season is that many nurseries discount their plant supply.

 

Prevent  injuries

Branch breakage can be caused by frost and snow gathering or chewing and rubbing by animals. You may stop problems with young trees by covering their base in a hard or plastic guard. Wrapping trees with burlap or plastic cloth also can avoid temperature harm. However, it is essential to remember to remove the wraps and guards in the spring to avoid damage when the tree begins to grow. Damage to branches and trunks from plow blades or a sharp shovel can be harmful to trees.

 

Care for Young Trees

Since the autumn season is a perfect time to plant new trees, it is essential to consider that young trees are typically not developed enough to survive the constant freezing and thawing that might occur and young trees are especially susceptible to extreme temperature changes that come with winter, especially in colder areas. One thing you can do as a preventive measure is to place a wide layer of mulch around the base of the tree.

If you have questions about managing autumn tree care, contact Sexy Trees today!

 

 

Apple Trees in the Bay Area: Good or Bad Idea?

Tree Service Concord

If you already have apples trees in the SF Bay Area, then you already know: Apple trees are great here. Not effortless, but not hard.

Which Apple Trees are Good in the Bay Area?

Apple varieties that are “Low Chill” can be found at most Bay Area nurseries, and these are the ones you want. Among these are ‘Baldwin,’ ‘Braeburn,’ ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin,’ ‘Fuji,’ ‘Gala,’ ‘Golden Delicious,’ ‘Red Gravenstein,’ ‘Spitzenburg,’ ‘White Pearmain’ and ‘Yellow Bellflower.’

Of course your property may already have an apple tree or many of them. To find out what kind of tree you have, whether it’s in good health, and what its needs are, you can set an appointment with Sexy Trees to come out, examine it, and schedule any maintenance it needs.

What Kind of Care Do They Need?

If you have a newly planted apple tree, now is the time to have it pruned.  As your tree grows, prune for the four “D’s”: Dead, Diseased, Damaged or Disoriented Branches. Fruit trees, including apples, benefit from pruning in winter and summer.

Your tree also needs sunlight to fruit, not in general, but specifically: each branch with perform in alignment with how much sunlight it receives. Apple trees don’t do well in shade, and pruning should reflect that, being mostly at the top of the tree so that maximum surface area gets strong light exposure.

Top-dress your apple trees with compost each fall. Also, lay down mulch about 3 inches deep and  about 4 inches from the trunk, which keeps back weeds and retains moisture.

Unless they’re self-fertile, apple trees need pollination to produce fruit. Neighboring or nearby apple trees are needed for pollination to bear fruit, after honeybees and other insects pollinate the trees. Once fertilized, their flowering can be followed by good fruit set.

For help with your apple trees or any tree on your property, contact Sexy Trees today to get top quality services from a Certified professional arborist.

3 Essential Tips for Fruit Tree Care in Summer

Lafayette Tree Service

With summer here, your fruit trees are hopefully putting forth a lot of new growth and some of that delicious summer fruit is already starting to appear on your tree. Summer is when most fruit trees really flourish into their full beauty, but it’s also a time when special care needs to be taken to properly nurture your fruit trees and get the best results out of them. With careful attention and the skilled assistance of a qualified arborist where necessary, you can help your trees to produce the best summer fruit you’ve ever had while keeping your tree happy and healthy.

Pruning in Summer

If you’re wondering whether you can prune fruit trees in summer the answer is yes, although with some caveats. While conventionally, most fruit tree pruning is done in late winter, there is a place for pruning fruits trees at home in summer. This especially applies to dwarf fruit trees, where summer pruning helps to establish control, and most garden apple trees and pear trees are dwarf stock nowadays.

Pruning fruit trees in summer has many advantages. Firstly, it can help to correct what needs correcting, removing dead and damaged section of the tree and establishing structure. Pruning excess growth and thinning the fruit can help direct the trees energy towards developing the fruit on fast growing trees. Pruning can also increase light exposure which prevents disease and helps to mature the fruit.

However, over-pruning in summer, or pruning when your tree is tip bearing or weak can do more damage than good. If you’re unsure, call in your local tree specialist to inspect the tree and provide an expert tree trimming for the best results.

Protecting Your Fruit Trees

Summer can be a harsh time for trees and plants, especially in drought conditions such as we are experiencing now in Walnut Creek and across the Bay Area. Regularly watering your trees and applying mulch to protect the roots and prevent water loss is the most environmentally sustainable and tree friendly way to nurture your fruit trees through summer.

Tree services companies can provide mulch fresh to your door, so you can keep your fruit trees healthy all summer.

Inspecting Fruit Trees

When fruits begin to appear on the tree, it’s also likely that pests and diseases could appear as well. Inspect the bark, branches, leaves and developing fruits on your fruit trees often and check for signs of insects and diseases.

Catching a problem early can help to save a lot of time and damage rather than letting the problem get out of control before you take action. If you’re unsure about how to inspect fruit trees or you see the initial signs of a problem starting, contact a fruit tree specialist to come and inspect the tree and offer advice on how to remedy the problem while conserving the tree’s health and as much fruit as possible.

With these tips you can nurture your fruit trees through the summer and enjoy a delicious crop of rich, mature fruit, while keeping your tree healthy for the next season as well.