Summer is over and Fall is in full swing so now is the time to turn our attention to ornamental trees and shrubs. Ornamental plants are the highly visual, focal points of our landscapes so they shouldn’t be ignored. These plants are chosen for their attractive qualities such as the blooms on a Cherry Tree, the red stems of a Dogwood, or the bright red glow of an Autumn Blaze Maple. In nature, trees get all the nutrients they need to survive from the forest floor which is filled with leaf litter and other organic matter.
In our landscapes, we usually remove these fallen leaves and other organic matter, striping away valuable nutrients needed for healthy development. The roots of your trees and shrubs are then forced to compete with grass roots for their nutrients. Usually the smaller faster growing grass plants will absorb these nutrients faster than the trees are able to. This means that the best time to fertilize deciduous trees is in late fall, after the leaves have dropped, but before the soil has frozen. These plants love the cool Fall weather and their roots will continue to grow even after visual shoot growth has stopped.
The more nutrients your trees can absorb, the stronger, denser, and better prepared to survive the cold winter weather their root systems will become.
The nutrients you provide will be stored in the root system, and used next spring. The feeder roots for these plants are typically all in the first 6” – 12” of soil and can be easily fed using the deep root injection method. You typically start your injections around 1’ – 2’ away from the base of the tree and make injections about every 2’ in a circle around the tree. Then move out about 3’ – 4’ further away from the trunk and make another ring of injections. Continue to make rings of injections until you have reached the drip line of the plant.
The drip line is the outter edge of the plants branches and where your final ring of injections should be made. The more nutrients your trees can absorb, the stronger, denser, and better prepared to survive the cold winter weather their root systems will become. Simply spreading fertilizer on the ground is not sufficient enough for ornamental trees and shrubs. Turf grass and other smaller neighboring plants will absorb this fertilizer before the trees even get a chance at it.
Give your ornamental trees and shrubs the attention they deserve in the Fall and they'll continue to provide you with an eye-catching landscape, Spring after Spring. For more information about ornamental fertilizer applications, including tools and supplies, stop by your local Russo location and speak with a Plant Health Care Specialist today.
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