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DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 11:09 AM
OK, I had a customer ask about fertilizing her trees. The trees were perfectly fine. I told her they take care of themselves but if she REALLY wanted me to put something down I could.

SO, she seemed to REALLY want to have something put down... I know there are those "stakes" that you can put down, and I had asked before kind of generally and CT came up, but what is your suggestion? Like I said, these looked like nice healthy trees, I guess she wants them to grow faster?

I get quite a few requests for this and usually the "they take care of themselves and not much is required" takes care of it. I explain it like you don't have to do anything... they don't need any fert. If we do something to the tree then we will treat it for disease, insects, etc. etc. They are typically happy.

At the same time, this is more money for me... so without me just ripping them off and putting down stuff that it doesn't need what can I do that would be helpful and I won't feel bad for it? CT? Anything else?

Typically if they ask, they have it in their mind they want something done and the nothing needs to be done answer isn't what they seem to want to hear.

NattyLawn
08-30-2008, 11:53 AM
I'll preface this by saying that I'm not much of a tree guy, but if you plan on ever offering tree and shrub services, saying "they take care of themselves" is not a good answer. There's a lot more to learn in tree care than lawns, and a lot more variables, such as diseases and insects. Most chemical tree companies push the N to give the tree growth. Easy for customers and you to see, but that N push also brings on diseases and insects, and more work the tree company (TGCL does this for lawns too). For organic treatments, you probably want a balance of nutrients, and a little N to keep the tree moving. The basis of our tree program is fish, seaweed, humate and compost tea.

I believe tree stakes leach a lot of those nutrients into the water supply and typically are frowned upon.

My advice is it seems like your trying to establish the lawn care business now and tree and shrub isn't something you can just pick up and run with. I'm sure Barry will chime in here, and you can talk to arborists that apply organics. If you can find a tree company in your area to make referrals to and them to you, that might be good as well. Establish and get the lawn care down, then maybe expand into t&s in a few years. Just my opinion.

phasthound
08-30-2008, 11:54 AM
OK, I had a customer ask about fertilizing her trees. The trees were perfectly fine. I told her they take care of themselves but if she REALLY wanted me to put something down I could.

SO, she seemed to REALLY want to have something put down... I know there are those "stakes" that you can put down, and I had asked before kind of generally and CT came up, but what is your suggestion? Like I said, these looked like nice healthy trees, I guess she wants them to grow faster?

I get quite a few requests for this and usually the "they take care of themselves and not much is required" takes care of it. I explain it like you don't have to do anything... they don't need any fert. If we do something to the tree then we will treat it for disease, insects, etc. etc. They are typically happy.

At the same time, this is more money for me... so without me just ripping them off and putting down stuff that it doesn't need what can I do that would be helpful and I won't feel bad for it? CT? Anything else?

Typically if they ask, they have it in their mind they want something done and the nothing needs to be done answer isn't what they seem to want to hear.

After 30 years of treating trees & shrubs for symptoms like pests & diseases, I finally began to look towards the soil as the source of most of these problems. Now I use CT & worm castings and get better results than I had with pesticides and salt based fert. I try ti incorporate this in all my residential accounts. Yes there are times when it is wise to knock something out with a chemical, but then come right back in with CT to replenish the herd.

BTW, trees don't take care of themselves. In suburbia, I've read the average life span for a tree is 7 years. In nature, they depend greatly on soil OM & microbial activity. Even then, only a few survive. Those that do survive are usually great at surviving.

Kiril
08-30-2008, 12:01 PM
Compost does a tree good!

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 12:02 PM
That is typically what I was thinking... that the soil was the place to go... then any other diseases or major issues could be handled with a tree company. I am, and my customers are, looking for a basic treatment program, something similar to what Phast said... castings and CT, maybe inject the CT? As far as any major complications... that can be subbed out for all I care. Like you said, I am getting the lawns under control first, I didn't know if there was a basic approach to be taken for general apps.

When you started talking about the pumping trees full of N I immediately came back to lawns being pumped with N. You would get the same issues.

I guess this all goes back to the whole idea of organics... treat the soil and the soil will treat the plant? I am mainly asked for new trees, a few years old or smaller ornamental trees such as crape myrtles. If a tree is full grown then they never ask... and I don't want to deal with those guys.

It seems that a basic "fert" program for a tree would not be hard, but as you said, I am not a tree guy. Bushes I can handle fine... trees I wanted clarification on...

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 12:04 PM
Compost does a tree good!

I was waiting for that one... what is the app rate for this, how do you put it down to effect the tree itself and at what distance? The drip line? Just a topdress or can you "inject it"? Stupid question... I know Bill has a 123 Tree... I may just sit down with a local Tree service and talk with them to get it going properly until I can take it on myself.

Kiril
08-30-2008, 12:13 PM
Top dress and/or multiple auger points to depth of effective root zone 3-5 feet on either side of drip line and backfill with compost mixed with removed soil.

phasthound
08-30-2008, 12:15 PM
The best thing for a tree is to get rid of the turf underneath it & replace with compost. Not many clients will go for that, unless it is a mature specimen.

My target treatment area for trees when applying CT with additives mentioned by Nattylawn is a donut shape with the drip line as the center. Treat from the drip line to halfway to the trunk and the same distance past the drip line all the way around the tree. I will soil inject if adding Mycorrhizea, other wise just soil drench.

Kiril
08-30-2008, 12:18 PM
The best thing for a tree is to get rid of the turf underneath it & replace with compost.

:clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping:

ICT Bill
08-30-2008, 12:19 PM
Trees, woodies and perrenials prefer a fungal dominated soil, just a theory but I do believe that the trees are typically in yard with turf, we continue to select for the turf and the tree gets left out of the equation, the long term effect is a sad tree scraping by.

Some basics, never pile mulch onto the base of the tree, the mounded piles I see on some yards makes me angry, the tree girdles itself and eventually starts a downhill slide

If you can mulch a ring around a tree out to the drip line it is a good thing a real good thing, often turf won't grow under there anyway. The mulch will start a fungal dominant soil long term

Support the beneficial fungi with good practices like very little N and no P, mycorrhizae do not like much N and they basically stop working with P present.

If you can put down a layer of good leaf compost, something with a lot of cellulose in it, under the mulch the tree will thank you with wonderful long term health

Think like fungi, what do they want? crude forms of nutrients, rock dust, protein meals, cellulose, mycilia, humates maybe

If you can do a deep root feeding leave the NPK behind at leasdt most of it, I am not familiar with the tools used in deep root feeding maybe someone else can chime in.

If you want something off the shelf, I believe we have a great product for feeding trees, woodies and perrenials our 1-2-3 Tree has great fungal foods and is chock full of endo and ecto mycorrhizae. You simply mix it with the water you water the tree with ot use it in deep root injections, 1 ounce per 2 gallons, apply 1 gallon per DBH (diameter at breast height) or caliper inch
It has a little NPK from fish, Kelp and humates but really selects for a fungal domnant soil

It is very cost effective at twenty cents $0.20 per DBH

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 12:36 PM
great guys,

A good thing going for me is that, like Bill said, turf here will not grow anywhere near under the tree. Basically I tell everyone to take their beds and follow the drip lines... other wise your going to have a poor stand of turf, ESPECIALLY with bermuda. Zoysia will go further in the shade, but if you have bermuda... it's pointless to even try.

That is basically what I was thinking... compost and then CT either with injections or just POUR IT ON! I like it, thanks a lot, like with turf I figured cultural practices make most of the difference.

Tim Wilson
08-30-2008, 01:53 PM
It sounds like you are dealing with young trees. Research the strain of mycorrhizal (likely endo mycorrhizal) fungi associated with that species of tree and consult with www.mycorrhizae.com . Get the spores and inoculate the root system (they will tell you how). There are certain grasses which grow in conjunction with certain trees as well as other plants (uva ursi, berry bushes, mint). You could possibly research this and provide some highly beneficial companion planting. There may also be some benefit to seeding mushroom stock and indeed the endomycorrhizal species called for may be fruiting and even edible types. Be sure these are compatible with the mycorrhizal species! I'd consult with www.fungi.com as well. If it works out that you can seed some fruiting mushrooms and other companion plants this will help dictate the best mulch/compost material to use. That's how you fertilize a tree (IMO).

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 01:58 PM
interesting... I will work on that...

growingdeeprootsorganicly
08-30-2008, 04:04 PM
all great info from all chiming in!!!!!

DEEP,
for tree's and shrub care to me it's all about proper soil/nutrition and ENVIRONMENTAL conditions for that plant, do some research on that plant, where does it come from? what type of soil does it prefer? what type of water and nutritional needs does it have? what type of insect and disease is it susceptible too?
try to do it organically as possible but if needed do what it takes to address the problem and fix it. that's what they are paying for! solutions bottom line.
many problems can be avoided with proper nutrition and improving the soil conditions like most have said!!!

REAL TEA,balanced array of good fungal and some bacterial foods,maybe some rock dusts?and plenty of good organic matter (casts are the best)if possible.don't be afraid to use synthetics if a immediate nutrient deficiency exists
since most soil is of poor grade in most new construction home owner yards inoculation of mycorrhisal fungi is probably a good idea, it's not that expensive verse potential benefit.
if vertical mulching or top dressing with other amendments is not possible then a good organic program should include annual feeding of some kind maybe 2-4 times a year.

or more, tea,tea,tea! till your hearts content,some might say you don't need it once inoculation occurs or that the microbes are already present or established but it can't hurt and if you use different local"best" or foreign sources of compost/forest duff you can increase diversity of organisms in you feedings,plant/soil/environment makes the final word on who stays and who does not. strait compost is best for many reasons but tea feeding helps stretch your post and is way easier"economical" way to apply it's benefits
soil drenching or even better especially if using mycorrhisal is to feed with a root feeder.
research organic insect controls, hort oil though it is petroleum based and can only be used on certain plants it is a good preventative approach, bt, cooper/lime, neem(care full of leaf burn)spinosad,garlic,hotpepper,pyrethrums,insecticidal-soaps and many more it all depends on the problem or pest you are trying to prevent or cure. it all comes down to the problem and the knowledge you have to address it
if you want to be a real professional and offer a valuable service thats what it's all about
to practice organic care weather turf/ tree/shrub/plant means you need to be about 10x more knowledgeable then the chem guy. a life time of DEDICATION and LEARNING it never ends!!!!!! "to be good"

ive been in the lawn and landscape game for about going on thirteen years and about 3 years ago i finally woke up and grew up to be exact! and decided to dedicate my life to horticare, to be more then just a lawncut and squirt guy, organic care concepts came natural and made the most sense to me to provide TRUE proper care for plants,understanding the relationship between soil/microbes and plant and how to feed,improve,care for them in a way that is natural and meant to be, following mother natures blue print for life not ours, providing proper care for plants in an environmentally responsible way is win win in my book.

some people think a landscaper is just a job anyone can do, sure anyone can cut and fertilize/maintain a yard"sort off:)"but to be something more then that, to be some thing that is really meaning full takes a life time to master.
organic care is more then just changing one bag for another and sh@t like that!
i probably have 8.9999% of the knowledge if that to be the true master gardener im trying to be. and to give you perspective, the knowledge i do have is more then most in this field"regular lawn and landscape care" i know thats not saying much! but practicing good organic care only takes it to the next level of understanding and learning, so to make my long rambling statement short, hit the books/Internet/the field and what ever, and don't come out till you figure some of this out, always be the best at what you do and never settle for less thats what your customer is paying for, the best you can provide JMO

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 04:11 PM
sounds like fun... and the fact that I will be able to come to them and say for this tree we are going to take this route. Not a 5 treatment plan every year but we need to start with this and then this and then that. They will be blown away that I am actually treating the plant rather than throwing down 10-10-10 sort of speak.

Kiril
08-30-2008, 04:25 PM
sounds like fun... and the fact that I will be able to come to them and say for this tree we are going to take this route. Not a 5 treatment plan every year but we need to start with this and then this and then that. They will be blown away that I am actually treating the plant rather than throwing down 10-10-10 sort of speak.

Not really different that any other plant DGL. A healthy soil will almost always lead to a healthy plant. Keep your soil balanced and address any other issues as they occur.

Happy soils lead to happy plants!

Compost does a soil good!

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 04:33 PM
Not really different that any other plant DGL. A healthy soil will almost always lead to a healthy plant. Keep your soil balanced and address any other issues as they occur.

Happy soils lead to happy plants!

Compost does a soil good!

That is what I had thought I just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything to take in consideration.

After reading all the responses I found that in a nutshell it came down to the soil... again... just like turf. Trees are just a much bigger plant than turf...

Don't get me wrong, I know they are two different things, requiring different soils... I think you get what I am trying to say.

Thanks for all the help...

treegal1
08-30-2008, 05:49 PM
I thought you took notes the last time you ask?LOLOL, no fert and some fungal tea is all the tree wants really!! compost and some leaf litter before the mulch, try and get the old ugly mulch.:hammerhead:

DeepGreenLawn
08-30-2008, 05:52 PM
yeah... I had it all in mind but now that I know more a more general answer would do... I just wanted to double check...

phasthound
08-30-2008, 06:08 PM
yeah... I had it all in mind but now that I know more a more general answer would do... I just wanted to double check...

For the most part, it is much easier to take care of all types of plants without using pesticides & salt based ferts.
1) right plant in the right place
2) proper planting technique
3) proper cultural management
4) build soil organic matter

treegal1
08-30-2008, 06:11 PM
100% native plants rule!!!!!!!