Fertilizing trees -- better late than never?

doofusMay 8, 2012

Bought some tree-fertilizer spikes recently and found out, that they are supposed to be used in "early spring" or "late autumn".

Is using it now still better than nothing at all, is it a waste of fertilizer, or is it, perhaps, even worse than not fertilizing at all?

One box of the stuff is meant for fruit trees (I have cherry, sour cherry, apricot, and pear) and the other box -- for evergreens (cypress trees)...

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If you'll search the forum for information on fertilization, you'll find that most trees and shrubs in most situations do not need fertilizer. Unless the soil is deficient of some nutrient, your plants are better off without it. Improper fertilization can be harmful to your trees. You should never fertilize without a reason for doing so and without some idea of what nutrients need to be added. Fertilizer spikes are often thought of as the snake oil of the horticulture business. For the most part, they are a waste of money.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:06PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

More like "better never than ever"

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 6:08AM
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Please understand that even IF your trees needed fertilization, spikes are the absolute worst method of delivering it.

I would first throw them away and second get a soil sample to your cooperative extension office for your free annual soil test. Find them in your white pages listed by county.
The information from that will tell you what, if anything, needs to be added to your soil. Your county agents will assist you in understanding the test results and be familiar with amendments available locally and how much to apply when.

Absent that information you are literally flying blind, so doing nothing would be FAR better than doing a wrong thing.
And fertilizer spikes are definitely a wrong thing.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:50AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i like to sum it up this way ...

two ways ...

first.. for what they are worth.. send me the money.. and i will pray for them... and it will do as much good as a spike ..

in the alternative..

they are trees/shrubs.. they are not children.. they do NOT need to be fed.. changed.. educated.. etc ...

water them properly.. and otherwise.. ignore them ... and 99% of the time mother nature will take care of that for you.. but for drought and transplant ....


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:12AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Grind them up and put the fert on the lawn....if it needs it.

Spikes for trees are almost worthless. A good mulch will serve you better.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:57AM
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How do I relate in text the look of a man with his hand covering his face, his head slowly shaking to and fro, giving the universal sign for "for fux sakes"?



    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 5:53PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Bet 'cha got the message. The right one!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:48PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Wisconsitom, I've heard that referred to as "facepalm" before ;)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:43AM
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Thanks Fam! Now to the OP, sorry if I came across a little harshly. For me and some others that have been here for a while, fertilizer spikes are something we thought we'd dispatched to the junkheap of history long ago.

Even if fertilizer is warranted, that's just an extremely poor delivery method. They sure do keep selling them though!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 5:40PM
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