Shrub fertilization schedule.

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by grassmasterswilson, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,746

    Axe,
    I have been away for a couple weeks with work and mending broken issues with employee troubles.

    Anyway, you bring up some points on slow growing trees make stronger wood.......correct.
    Evergreen's and oaks will grow in a vast selection of soil types and conditions. It isn't set in concrete that trees,plant, and shrubbery to be grown in groups such as in a forest; it is this setting that is favorable. Symbiotic relationships between like species and natural fungi that warrants off disease and increases vigor the natural way. Man spends billions a year force growing trees and plants to achieve the required color, shape and yield...........that is it. We force yield on a living things to maintain a contract such as in grasses.
    Back on topic,..............I have seen evergreen's and other such hardwood trees growing on a bluff, mesa or other areas with little to no silt, and all is just fine. But remember, there has to be those crucial nutrients present before life can be sustained. In the absence of these nutrients either through water, ground accumulation,etc. not even your trees would have survived on air and wind alone.
     
  2. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 500

    Im with axe on this for the most part.

    Could some plants benefit from fertilizing? Sure. In most instances though it is because they are planted in the wrong place. The first step to a solid landscape and healthy plants are planting the right plants. Shade tolerant plants in shady areas...clay thriving plants in clay areas etc. etc.

    Is axe said, slow growth leads to stronger plants, deeper roots, better root/shoot ratio leading to better drought tolerance, blah blah blah. Im a big advocate in not fertilizing shrubs trees and perennials. Theres just minimal reasons why they NEED it.
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    When I came back to read andersman02's comment, I saw that my response to this post,,, wasn't here...

    I remember responding to the idea:
    that if the trees do just fine on a bluff/mesa with little or no silt and do just fine,, as you say,,, why do we need to be concerned about 'crucial nutrients' on the more normal soils???

    andersman02,,, I do believe it makes sense to fertilizer perennials,,, first couple years,,, after that fertilization is done with mulch decaying into the soil once established... It is rare that a perennial in the Northwoods needs fertilization,,, but perhaps in climates where they live a long time it is different... :)
     
  4. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 500

    Well with the plants we get, they come with a slow release to usually last the season. On top of that 90% of of projects use mulch, so there is not any nutritional value upfont but after some time. Lastly we almost always amend the soil when planting, so theres some more nutritional value.

    It also helps that we use very hardy plants.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Sounds similar to what we do here...
    The huge potted trees are never fertilized when we put them in the ground,,, but I like to work compost into the native soil which likely adds some 'boost' to the roots... Normal bareroot trees are never fertilized and generally doesn't get compost either...
     
  6. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,471

    So I have reached out to the local university and the landscaper who did the install. Got similar but different answers.

    Most of my plants were young and 3 gallons or less. They have not been fertilized by me at all(except some hydrangeas which showed some yellowing). They have been down about 1-1.5 years. I've only lost one plant so far.

    I'm not looking to push growth but help the plants get established and look healthy.

    Both recommended a fall and spring fertilization.

    The university said to apply 2-4 lbs N per year in slow release form. 4 to push growth. But recommended a soil test to figure out other nutrients that might be difficient. They suggested something closer to a lawn fertilizer.... 30-0-6 or 25-0-5

    The landscaper also said fertilize fall and spring but they said 10-10-10 now and osmocote in spring. The 10-10-10 is a quick release and the osmocote would feed for 8-9 months.

    So what to do? Any help for a lawn guy trying to complete his landscape would be great.
     
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    My rule of thumb for landscape plants is fertilize when the plant(s) shows signs of needed it and/or you have verified a need per soil test.
     

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