Water & nutrients are the most important requirements of trees living on residential and commercial properties. Irrigation, or watering, may be an easy way to provide the water they need, but supplying the nutrients they need can be a bit more difficult. Tree roots gather nutrients from the surrounding soil below ground. It is commonly thought that tree roots are extremely deep in the soil, however, the reality is that they are predominately living in the upper 8”-12” of the soil and extend laterally to the drip line (or edge of the canopy) &/or beyond.
Because the tree roots live so close to the surface of the soil, the “root zone” area can be very delicate. Many of the roots are very small, sometimes not much larger than a human hair and number in the millions or even billions in larger trees. These smaller tree roots, or “feeder” roots, are responsible for carrying the bulk of the tree’s nutrients to the main trunk. Most of this work is performed by a “vacuum” system by which the foliage draws the water and nutrients up through the tree’s vascular system.
Most residential and commercial properties remove all of the natural, organic “food” made available by leaves and other natural debris. This may cause the soil to “run out” of nutrients very rapidly, because nutrients in the soil are not always static. They may become unavailable for many other natural reasons as well. Here are just a few of the natural causes of nutrient deficiency:
- leach away naturally through the soil (faster through sandy soils)
- are flooded away by excess water
- they decay and are no longer useful
- some of the necessary nutrients may not exist in the soil around your tree at all!
- certain nutrients may become restricted due to improper pH balance.
- Competition from grass/shrub roots
Any of these reasons may cause problems with your tree’s health. Without these nutrients, trees weaken and may become susceptible to pest and disease issues. Weakened trees will decline and possibly die!
Having a Certified Arborist perform a regular maintenance program that includes proper watering and fertilizing of your trees will help to ensure their health for many years to come. Tree Medics’ Arborists are trained to care for each tree holistically and individually by addressing the entire surrounding landscape and the specific needs of your tree. A general evaluation is performed, soil samples are taken from the trees’ root zone & analyzed by our labs, then a careful diagnosis of your tree’s complete condition is rendered. Tree Medics prescribes nutrient solutions specific to your trees’ needs. We are then able to determine a specific solution for your tree’s health without taking the risk of using a “general fertilizer” that may “dose” your tree with nutrients which may already be excessive in the soil. Just as much damage can occur from an improper diagnosis and fertilization, as can when no actions are taken at all.