Deep Root Fertilization Helps Struggling Trees

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Independent Tree employee applying deep root fertilization to shrubs


Deep root fertilization is a specialized type of treatment used to help restore trees that are struggling or showing signs of decline.

This treatment uses high-pressure professional equipment to inject a blend of nutrients and organic matter into the soil around your trees’ roots.

Is deep root fertilization better than a DIY approach?

You may believe that you can fertilize your own trees, and we know many homeowners and landscapers do this. However, a basic granular fertilizer that you spread around the base of your tree simply will not have the long-lasting effects of a deep root fertilization treatment that is applied by a certified tree care expert.

Basic fertilizers are usually applied to the soil surface, where they don’t penetrate into the tree’s root system. Plus, granular fertilizers can be easily washed away by rain or wind, rendering them ineffective and causing run-off problems in streams, rivers, lakes, and even wells.

In contrast, deep root fertilization puts the nutrients right where the tree needs them (in the root zone) and in a format that’s much more easily absorbed by the tree. As a result, you’ll see faster and more noticable results.

Are your trees in need of a deep root fertilization treatment?

Any tree or shrub that appears to be struggling is a great candidate for a deep root fertilization treatment.

Signs of a struggling tree or shrub include:

    • Defoliation – the tree prematurely loses its leaves
    • Leaves changing their color too early, often appearing “scorched” or showing a yellow-brown discoloration
    • General dieback can be seen in the tree canopy – leaves, usually at the top of the tree, begin to die and drop earlier in the fall

Independent Tree employees applying deep root fertilization treatment to a tree

What does a deep root fertilization treatment do for your trees and shrubs?

To start, this kind of fertilization restores essential nutrients that have been lost during the summer season. This allows the tree to absorb and store nutrients for the upcoming winter, increasing the chances of survival.

Deep root fertilization also combats one of the primary stresses of many urban trees: soil compaction. Soil compaction usually occurs from a high volume of traffic, construction, or paved areas around or near the tree. It results in an inability of the tree to retain water and a low level of nutrients in the soil. By injecting nutrients and organic matter directly into the root zone, this kind of fertilization helps to loosen the soil and give the tree roots room to move. When tree roots cannot move, they are unable to grow or feed.

Deep root fertilization also improves soil aeration, letting the tree more easily absorb essential nutrients, water, and oxygen—everything the tree needs to survive!

When should this kind of fertilization be done?

Although deep root fertilization treatments can be applied in spring and summer, they’re more typically done in early fall. This gives the tree time to absorb the necessary nutrients before winter arrives and while the tree isn’t stressed by excessive heat, lack of moisture, and active growth.

Just one fall fertilizer treatment will provide significant, long-lasting results for your trees.

If any of your trees don’t look as healthy as they should, call Independent Tree for an inspection. Our arborists can diagnose the problem and determine whether deep root fertilization would be a good option to help improve the health and appearance of your tree.