Fertilizer for Oak Trees

hgiljrJune 8, 2009

Hello everyone, I am writing from south florida and need help with two oak trees on the easement of my home. These trees where planted by the county several years back, before I purchased the home. There are actually three oak trees, the healthy one about 12 feet tall by 10 wide on the top part. Now the other two are about 10 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. They look as if they are missing some type of fertilizer or nutrition because in the time I have owned the home (2.5 years) they have not grown or even branched out. I have trimmed them to see if it helps but no luck. I have searched for help but am not finding much. Hopefully someone here can help me with these oak trees and tell me what type of fertilizer or added nutrition I can feed them to see them grow nicely. Any help or info appreciated. Thanks

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

first ID the specific oak ...

then have a soil test done..

then decide if any amendments to the soil would be worth the cost of application..

otherwise trees do NOT need fertilizer..

and if you have an oak that is not suitable to FL.. then no fert is going to help

why are you bothering with trees that are in the easement.. and not even yours???? and does the easement involve power lines above????

ken

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 11:48AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Sometimes trees are not planted properly. Sometimes they aren't maintained properly right from the beginning such as not have generous mulching around trees and watering. I assume you have very sandy soil that do not hold nutrients very well? Talk to your county extension. google for it and ask someone about your soil if they typically lack certain nutrients that you need to fertilize with.

I am 90% certain that they are LIVE oak. Right?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:55PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Another common Florida oak (besides the Quercus virginiana) planted by the zillions is Quercus laurifolia, Laurel Oak. I'd guess, along with Lou, that your tree will be one of those two.

Tell us a little about the type of soil you have in that area. Contrary to ken's strong opinions about the fertilization of trees (or lack of), trees grown in urban situations in soils that have endured construction processes often benefit from fertilization.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 3:06PM
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hgiljr

Yes they are Live Oak. As for why taking care for them, cause I have to maintain the easement not the county and these trees are also maintained by me. I would love for them to look nicer and grow and give shade to the home, but no such luck. As for power lines, there are none above since all are underground. I will call county extension to see what they say and yes I am in a very sandy soil if soil at all. I am sure the previous owners did not care for them since they didn't even care for their own lawn. From reading here, it does have mulch currently but up to the trunk, so I will separate it from the trunk. Maybe that helps. Thanks again

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 3:09PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I think with sandy soil, you tend to lack enough nitrogen and potassium since they wash away quickly. Potassium moves much more slowly. Lawn fertilizer is perfectly fine but you need to find from your county extension what your soil tend to lack just to make sure.

My number one - ALWAYS provide generous mulching over large area usually up to drip line (tips of branches).

Number two - water deeply and infrequently. May not apply to your sandy soil though so do some homework on it. In my case with heavy slow draining soil, i water deeply every 2 weeks for everything.

Number three - fertilize to promote more growth to desired size. After that, doesn't matter. Usually lawn fertilizer is fine if that's where lawn is. No need to get separate "Tree" fertilizer which is sometimes more expensive.

Do all of these and you get maximum growth.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 8:47PM
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wisconsitom

Generally, in sand, a "spoonfeeding" approach is called for. Since sand holds onto both water and nutrients very poorly, it is a waste of both to apply a great deal at one time, as they will leach down through the soil profile rapidly. Instead, one needs to apply smaller amounts, but more frequently.

+oM

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:27PM
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idaho_gardener

Here in SW Idaho we have a nursery company that specializes in organic methods. It's called Zamzow's. They have a product they used to call 'Save-a-tree' but now call 'Thrive'. It comes in a liquid form and costs about $15 for a gallon jug.

I have used it to save several trees, including a pin oak next to my rental. I'll include a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zamzows thrive

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 11:52PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If you want a great tree fertilizer but don't want to worry with a soil test or even bother with a local extension agent, I have the perfect answer. For just $9.95 per gallon plus shipping (at cost), I can send you some Brandon's Super Tree Solution. It may well be the best thing you'll ever give your tree and works along with a good layer of organic mulch to make your tree grow strong and health. The wonder chemical I can provide is clear and mostly odorless, requires no special handling, is very easy to apply, and is a concentrated version of the most important ingredient your tree seeks from the soil naturally. It comes packed in various reused/recycled plastic one gallon bottles to save you money. Let me know if you're interested and I can send you my address. I'll take cash or checks.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 9:22AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Might I suggest Milorganite. Being processed waste there should be trace nutrients along with nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium. It releases nutrients over a few weeks, relatively low density in nutrients, making over fertilization much harder, and are less likely to end up polluting the water table. It may even help the soil microbiology. Sandy soil does a very poor job of holding onto water/nutrients, that with the heavy summer rain in Florida that leaches nutrients, fertilization of some sort would seem prudent, just not in heavy doses. I specifically fertilize our established trees, as they are planted in Ultisol clay, that was heavily abused during construction, has little remaining fertility, and leaches as well during prolonged wet periods. I don't test my soil, even though the other half works in a lab that can do this, as I have a good ideal what it's missing/losses already from the soil type, and other background information. If you are willing to do the research you could probable do the same. If you can find your soil type (probable available from your county), then your local county extension agent could probable tell you. Just don't overdo the fertilizer.

JMHO
Arktrees

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 12:14AM
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