Don’t we all love a lush, green garden with vibrant flowers adorning the front yard with a fragrance so enchanting that it reminds you of a distant wonderland?
Exactly. Not only does a vibrant garden provide a fantastical landscape, but it may also be a passion for some people.
And if you are one of them, we know you would want your plants to grow as healthily as they can. For that, of course, you need efficient fertilizers.
Best Fertilizers for Growing Trees and Shrubs – Top Picks
1. Miracle-Gro Tree & Shrub Plant Food Spikes
These spikes are user-friendly, very straightforward in terms of usage. They can be used to fertilize twice a year in different spring seasons and then again in the fall. All you need to do is create a drip line across the shrubs or hammer the product into the ground.
This fertilizer is a slow-release, meaning that it releases all the beneficial nutrients steadily down the plant’s root area. This helps in the development as well as the flowering of the plant without filtration into the soil.
Deciduous trees, as well as shrubs, hugely benefit from this fertilizer. As a consistent user, you will start noticing lush, green, nutritious leaves on the plants.
However, it is essential to read and abide by the instruction manual on the pack. Many are reported to have harmed their plants and even destroyed them for not being vigilant enough.
These tree and shrub spikes come in packs of 12 and are highly affordable, providing you monetary convenience. Formulations for citrus and fruits are also available in the market.
- High nitrogen content for solid growth
- Loaded with potassium for sturdy growth and fruiting
- Comfortable and straightforward to use
- Slow-releasing nutrients
2. Scotts Evergreen Flowering Tree & Shrub Continuous Release Plant Food
One of the most well-known brands in the fertilizer industry, Scotts has earned its name for providing quality products for evergreen, deciduous trees and shrubs. The abovementioned fertilizer also caters to flowers.
It comes with a Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ratio of 11-7-7. The NPK level is slightly below the percentage of other fertilizers. It is a granular fertilizer. Essentially meant for acid-loving plants, this fertilizer has a slow and steady release of nitrogen along with 2% sulfur.
This ratio increases the acidity of the solution. In this way, it becomes an excellent match for plans that cannot absorb essential nutrients when the soil’s pH level reaches beyond 5.5.
You must apply the fertilizer away from the tree trunk (around 8 to 12 inches) in terms of usage. This then needs to be watered well enough for nutrients to seep in. It takes mere weeks for the good results to show. As the plants absorb the acidic solution, you see quick changes in greenery and sturdiness.
The Evergreen Flowering and Tree Shrub come for a very low range, making it highly affordable and, therefore, an in-demand product. The item weighs 3 pounds and is readily available in the market or online.
- Product by a reputed brand
- Slow-releasing nutrients
- Loaded with potassium and phosphorus for fruiting
- Best for acid-loving deciduous trees
- Contains sulfur
3. Miracle-Gro Shake’ N Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs Continuous Release Plant Food
The Miracle-Gro Shake N’ Feed fertilizer is suitable for most variants out there, including flowers. Trees and shrubs. It is a slow-release fertilizer, and therefore, it leaves more scope for absorption. As the name suggests, it gives a continuous release of nutrients.
The plants that this fertilizer has been used upon will enjoy a steady supply of nutrients and keep showing growth for up to three months after the first usage. The high potassium content shows that this is an excellent supplement for flowering and fruiting plants.
Since fertilizers that are slow-release help strengthen the stem and roots, this product with its natural ingredients helps the plants thrive with greenery all year round.
The usage is pretty simple. All you need to do is mix the granules with the surface of the soil and water the area afterwards. You can also sprinkle the mixture over the soil ahead of a rainy forecast.
- Best for flowering plants
- Simple and comfortable usage
- For both indoor and outdoor plants
4. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor
If we talk about the most popularly used fertilizer brands in the market, Osmocot comes to mind. It includes a slow-release system like the other products mentioned in this article. The nutrient ratio, i.e. Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ratio, is 15-9-12, and this nutrient mixture is housed within a brilliant linseed ball design within the package.
This ball is further coated with a dissolvable outer layer, thus, helping in a slow release of nutrients. In popular opinion, this product is very efficient with an intelligent design.
The fertilizer can feed a plant for a whole season, i.e. approximately six months. It is very suitable for smaller plants and not big garden trees. Indoor plants grow exceptionally well with this fertilizer.
All you need to do is spread the product on the soil- 1 spoon for every four squares of the planting area and water it afterward. This needs to be done every six months, and you are good to go!
So if you are looking for fertilizer to meet the needs of your small plants and shrubs, this is the one for you.
- Comfortable and straightforward to use
- Slow-release fertilizer
- Not suitable for garden trees; only small pot plants
- It lasts for six month
- Best reviewed by customers
5. Espoma Organic Fertilizer
The Espoma TR4 Plant Food makes it on this list because of its applicability and easy usage. This slow-release fertilizer helps shrubs and trees have steady and healthy growth and keep them evergreen. The Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ratio of the product is 6-3-2. It is slightly lower as compared to other fertilizer products.
Like the others on this list, all you need to do is sprinkle the material on the soil surface and hammer it in or water it to seep down afterward. In terms of measurements, you need to apply one cup every 35 square feet of plant soil. You may use this product twice a year, before spring and fall.
However, one may need to dig the soil and pour the mixture in (closer to the roots) for big trees.
The product comes in a pack of 4 pounds and is rated 4.5/5 by Amazon customers. This solution feeds the plants and shrubs for an approximate period of 2-3 months.
Despite the lack of iron in the mixture, it is well-absorbed by acid-loving plants, evergreen, and flowering shrubs and plants, as well as flowering plants.
- An organic fertilizer
- Delivers exceptional nutrition to big plants
Before buying from the products mentioned above, you need to know what you are buying. Therefore, the following are the types of fertilizers out in the market, and you can determine what kind of fertilizer suits your requirements.
Quick or Slow Release Tree Fertilizer
Fertilizers can be majorly classified as quick or slow-release. This terminology is based on the speed of the fertilizer dissolving into the soil and spreading its micro as well as macronutrients into the roots of the plant.
Slow-release fertilizer spikes for trees
Trees or plants have not yet grown fully because of slow fertilizers as they need a steady flow of nutrients that reach the roots over a long period.
Spikes take a longer time to diffuse as compared to granular fertilizers. Also referred to as fertilizer sticks, these spikes are generally hammered onto the plant soil, two feet away from the tree trunk.
Quick-release fertilizer for trees
This type of fertilizer works on mature trees and shrubs that need an immediate nutrient boost. You may consider using this fertilizer when your trees or plants look dull.
This fertilizer is generally applied in grains or powder by digging a hole in the ground near the plant soil and then filling it in. It can also be allowed to seep in with the help of water and is also available in liquid form.
Chemical or natural fertilizers
As the names suggest, mineral fertilizers are produced artificially and loaded with the nutrients plants require to grow and fruit efficiently. On the other hand, plant residue and other natural compost materials are combined to form natural fertilizers.
Due to the lack of chemicals in the product, natural fertilizers tend to be healthier, even though they have unbalanced nutrients.
These fertilizers are procured by animals as well as plant residues. Since they are natural, they take longer to take effect and have a raw smell that may cause your garden to have a foul odor.
You must always read the user instructions and ingredients mentioned behind the package to know exactly what you are pouring into the roots of your trees.
Chemical or inorganic fertilizers
These are the most commonly preferred fertilizers because they are infused with a nitrogen-based compound essential for the growth of your plants.
The Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ratio is the highest in this type. If your tree is severely malnourished and lackluster, you may want to consider an inorganic fertilizer.
How should you fertilize your trees and shrubs?
You must distribute the fertilizer as close to the roots as possible for the best results. Ideally, the fertilizer (granular) should be spread evenly across root soil, and the spikes must be arranged about 2 feet away from the tree.
However, do not apply fertilizers before an expected downpour because that can wash away the essential nutrients that the fertilizer intended to provide in the first place. Watering the nutrients and giving them time to sink is always better since the efficient fertilizers tend to be slow-release.
What is the best season to use fertilizers?
Improper usage paired with wrong timing can prove to be more disastrous than beneficial for your garden.
You can apply the intended product before the onset of spring or summer to give the fertilizer time to provide the plant with needed nutrition. The plants then can fully grow and mature in 2-6 months.
Fall is another great season for fertilizing. The vital NPK component helps the plants to survive harsh weather conditions by making them stronger and sturdier. This is the period between September-October.
How often should trees and shrubs be fertilized?
Small plants require fertilization more often than mature ones because they tend to be more fragile. Nurturing them with proper nutrients is essential for steady growth is an important aspect.
With that in mind, they must be fed every two weeks till they are mature enough. Upon maturing, trees and shrubs do not require as much supplementary nutrition to be provided twice annually.
However, it would be best to fertilize your plants during a given season, like summer or fall. Excess usage of fertilizers is not recommended.
The above article provides a thorough guide of the best fertilizers for growing trees and shrubs in 2023. However, you know your garden more than we do.
Therefore we would like you to base your opinion on the characteristics of your plants, their nutrient requirements, the types of fertilizers that are available, and whether they suit your requirements.
We hope you have a great experience with the fertilizers mentioned above.
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