Trees and shrubs are among a homeowner’s most valuable assets, adding both protection and beauty to a property. Proper maintenance is essential to keeping them healthy and thriving now and for years to come.
In addition to the traditional maintenance like pruning and mulching, homeowners should consider deep root feeding.
While trees are capable of feeding themselves, oftentimes, soil in a residential lawn can’t provide the natural nutrients needed as if it had grown in the wild and developed adaptations to those conditions.
Further, we often unintentionally rob trees from being able to satisfy their needs by raking and removing leaves, which can replenish nutrients and help add organic matter to the soil naturally. And even if leaves are left, many blow away and don’t get to provide those essential nutrients key to a thriving landscape.
There are six primary nutrients that plants require — carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The latter three nutrients come from the soil. Most soil doesn’t have all the nutrients needed for optimal growth, which means you won’t get the harvest or flower bloom desired.
— The Old Farmer’s Almanac states.
What is Deep Root Feeding and How Can it Benefit My Landscape?
Deep root feeding is a type of fertilization in which a probe is used to inject nutrients deeper into the soil — in the tree’s root zone. Trees and shrubs get an instant nutrient boost that’s transported throughout the root system.
Benefits of Deep Root Feeding include:
Improving soil structure. Missouri is known for its tough clay soil, and deep root feeding can help break up compaction around the roots so essential nutrients can be more easily absorbed.
Stimulating growth. Both roots and stems will benefit from deep root feeding, growing stronger more rapidly than if they don’t get the nutrient boost. Deep root feeding also promotes healthy and vibrant foliage.
Building disease and pest resistance. Steady growth has an added benefit of helping the tree or shrub develop resistance to diseases and can even make them less vulnerable to pests.
Ensuring the tree or shrub gets the fertilizer. With traditional lawn fertilization methods — where fertilizer is added to the soil surface, grass and other nearby plants absorb most or all of the fertilizer and leave little for the tree’s root system. Deep root feeding helps ensure fertilizer is feeding your trees and shrubs that most need it.
Helps build nutrient storage. Deep root feeding can be done in spring, fall, or both. Deep root feeding in the spring will help your trees “wake up” from dormancy and absorb nutrients when uptake is the highest. It will especially benefit hard working evergreens that have very little rest.
Fall deep root feeding can help trees overcome summer stress and prepare for winter. Trees and shrubs will develop reserves of nutrients in their root systems during the fall and winter to create better root development, bright green foliage, and fruit or flowers.
Candidates for Deep Root Feeding
While deep root feeding is a great source of providing nutrients, not every tree or shrub needs this type of treatment.
- Trees in landscape beds are great candidates for deep root feeding because they’re competing with surrounding plants for nutrients.
- Trees and shrubs in compacted soil have a hard time getting needed nutrients and getting it distributed to the root system, so they also benefit from deep root feeding.
- Struggling trees and shrubs could use nutrient-rich fertilization injection. Signs of struggling may include things like slow growth, smaller or fewer leaves than normal, leaves dropping at inappropriate times, or if there is visible damage from insects or animals.
Proper tree care and maintenance is the most cost-effective way to avoid emergency work and to help build strength that can help trees and shrubs thrive.
Can I DIY Deep Root Feeding?
While many lawn maintenance tasks can be completed by a homeowner, deep root feeding requires extensive knowledge of trees and plants, fertilizer, and injection locations, along with specialized equipment to inject the fertilizer.
A professional will understand the nuances of each tree or shrub, along with what it needs to thrive and be able to apply the fertilizer accordingly.
Let the experts at Craig’s Tree Service help you determine if deep root feeding is right for your trees and shrubs, walk you through our deep root feeding process, and explain the benefits for you and your landscape. Contact us.