Woody plants suffer from the effects of compacted soils depleted from a lack of natural nutrient recycling. Trees and shrubs prefer acidic forest soils with low compaction and high levels of nutrient recycling. Sift through a rich forest soil and compare it to lawn soil to notice the difference. Poor soil conditions are common in urban and rural areas and are often a leading cause of tree stress, leaf chlorosis (leaf yellowing) and mortality. This poor health and reduced vigour weakens a woody plant's natural defenses against harmful insects and fungal diseases.
Effective tree fertilization requires a different method than what is available for lawns and gardens. Fertilizers are quickly absorbed by grass and shallow plant roots at the soil surface which prevents uptake by tree roots located much deeper in the soil. Tree fertilizer stakes are rendered ineffective by soil compaction which limits their dispersal to the visible puff of green grass that sprouts around them. Compounding the problem, the salt content of these fertilizers may damage tree roots if applied to dry, cracked soils.
Treating a trees extensive root system with fertilizer requires specialized equipment and techniques. Shelemy Arborist Services has been active in research and development of fertilization systems for woody plants. Several years of research has yielded NutraTree Professional™, a root zone fertilizer. This proprietary formulation is injected under high pressure into a tree's root zone area, counteracting soil compaction and thoroughly saturating the tree's root system. It includes an acidifier to reduce soil pH, essential tree nutrients and sustained release nitrogen (for up to two years).
NutraTree Professional™ can be applied throughout the growing season between spring thaw and ground freeze-up in November. The visible results are often noticeable about 12 growing weeks after application. If applied in the fall, nutrients are available to the roots when trees return from dormancy the following spring.