Trees – Fertilizing

Q: When is the best time to fertilize huge white oaks, red oaks, and hickory trees. We read an article that said fall was best time. With the drought going on we aren’t sure if we should or not. What do you suggest using and where should we use it?

A: If the trees are near a lawn or landscape area that gets fertilized each year they probably don’t need any fertilizer. If they are in an open area without any landscaping beneath, fertilizing may be beneficial. Remember that drought may have damaged the tree root systems. It might be better to nurse them to vigorous health next growing season before adding any fertilizer. In any case the best time to fertilize is usually in the spring just before the leaves expand. Use 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 at a rate of three pounds per inch of trunk thickness at chest height. Feeding roots grow well beyond the spread of the limbs so scatter fertilizer evenly under the tree and beyond. Water thoroughly afterwards.

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