Fertilizing Young Trees

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bolson32
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Fertilizing Young Trees

Post by bolson32 » October 6th, 2021, 9:26 pm

I saw Morpheus mentioned fertilizing his Thuja Green Giants in another thread and to avoid hijacking I wanted to start a new thread.

I'm trying to establish a shelter belt/ privacy trees across a couple sides of my lot. It's a mixture is spruce, white pine, hybrid poplars, couple birch and some red osier dogwoods.

What's everyone's best fert regimen for young trees? I've seen quite a few differences in opinions, ranging from nothing, to only in the spring. Next summer will be their third season and I haven't had the greatest growth yet, although this last summer was a historically bad drought. Anyway, any tips to help them flourish would be appreciated. Thanks!

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MorpheusPA
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Re: Fertilizing Young Trees

Post by MorpheusPA » October 7th, 2021, 6:26 pm

It really depends on you. Nothing is fine. They don't, technically, need much of anything.

I wasn't waiting on nature to grow my Thuja. I planted in April at 2' tall, then was pretty gentle the first year, feeding at half rate with Miracle Gro (Nature's Poison [tm] according to some detractors; I disagree). Plus the normal organic feeding the lawn got, so May, August, September, and October. They got the same spray of urea the lawn got in November.

Year 2 and onward, the feeding was full strength Miracle Gro every ten days until September (plus organics with the lawn). By year 5, they were hitting 15', so I was backing off the feeding to just the organics the lawn got. Now, year 11, they're about 20', and growth has slowed considerably.

That's fine for Thuja and poplar, but pine, birch and dogwoods just don't need that. Feed in spring after blooming time on the dogwood. Feed in very early fall. That's entirely sufficient. For the pine, you can skip spring if you want.

Water during droughts only, every 2 weeks or so, very deeply, for established trees. Weekly for younger ones, perhaps.

bolson32
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Re: Fertilizing Young Trees

Post by bolson32 » October 7th, 2021, 9:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback, I was actually thinking miracle gro might be perfect to get past the grass.

I'll pickup a little regimen next spring.

Any merit to the idea that fertilizing trees can cause faster "weak" growth?

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MorpheusPA
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Re: Fertilizing Young Trees

Post by MorpheusPA » October 8th, 2021, 5:35 pm

Some, yes. My Thuja outgrew their capacity to be supported by their root systems and I had to stake them for a year. Those caught up. Thuja don't have much issue translating newer growth to woody growth.

You'll note I didn't recommend heavy synthetic nitrogen for the pine, birch, and dogwood, which would suffer problems with it. Twice a year? Not really a problem. Every ten days? Well...I wouldn't do that. Of them, I'm betting the pine would have the least problem. The birch would be a beacon for insects. The dogwood...hello, anthracnose.

I've done heavy feeding on a magnolia and gotten away with it, but the tree rapidly exceeded genetic specifications. It also blossoms spectacularly in May and regularly but spottily through the season.

bolson32
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Re: Fertilizing Young Trees

Post by bolson32 » October 8th, 2021, 6:52 pm

Okay, good to know. I'll probably just hit them a couple of times a year then and call it good. I'm currently doing nothing, so I think a couple good dousings with MG would be helpful.

Thank you!

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