Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

gbig2(6)June 16, 2010

I had my tree service company look at a blue spruce that's pretty green, not as blue as the rest of them in the row. I'm aware it was a mistake to plant the blue spruce in such a wet location. We were thinking it was pest damage but here's what the guy wrote on the service paper.

"Spruce is browning due to cultural isses. Tree is located in a lower area where water tends to sit. This causes stress and could be causing root rot. I would recommend a deep root fertilization to promote as much root growth as possible to take advantage of the wet conditions."

So do you think deep root fertilization could be helpful or is it just a money making scam for these tree service companies?

Thanks

Greg

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

how big are they

how long they been there

are they really browning like he said.. or just green as you said ....

how deep do they want to go?? what kind of soil ????

all that queried... i think its a scam ... how in the heck are fertilized roots going to deal with too much water ... if in fact that is a problem ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gbig2(6)

They are about 6 feet and have been there for about 3 years. We already lost two in the same area.

I'm slightly color blind, but my wife says it isn't brown, it's green. Some of the branches have a little blue on the very tips of the branches.

I haven't inquired yet about how deep they will go.

I had an arborist out 9 months ago after we lost the first two, and he also said the issue is too much moisture.

I don't want to put more money into this if it's not going to help...

Thanks

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
musicalperson

greg wrote:
"So do you think deep root fertilization could be helpful or is it just a money making scam for these tree service companies?"

Fertilizer can be helpful and is needed in some cases. In other cases it is sold as a means of making money. It all just depends on the tree service and whether they know what they're doing and the people consulting with you are ISA certified arborists or if they are merely salespersons with no understanding of tree biology.

Now whether or not it makes financial sense to do it is another matter.

I've had reputable tree services quote a fertilizer application for individual trees where the cost of doing that was more expensive than replacing the tree altogether. And it's a roll of the dice. There's no guarantee it will work.

What are they quoting you? For 6' trees, I'd imagine you'd be better off paying some out-of-work folks to transplant them to a dry spot in the yard at the appropriate time and then replace the blue spruce with something that tolerates the moisture better.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

"For 6' trees, I'd imagine you'd be better off paying some out-of-work folks to transplant them to a dry spot in the yard at the appropriate time and then replace the blue spruce with something that tolerates the moisture better."

What do I know but this makes the most sense to me. And if it doesn't work financially pull it out and just get another tree that will work in this situation.

Tree will continue to struggle eitherway...it needs to move.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I second Ken's comment. "How in the heck are fertilized roots going to deal with too much water?" This sounds like a snake-oil salesman with a lame sales pitch to me.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Feeder roots are usually small, densely and widely dispersed, just below the surface. Injecting liquid fertilizer leaves behind small pockets of chemicals that are not near most of the roots. Even if the injector were inserted only a short distance, kept up where the feeder roots are it would not deliver fertilizer to most of them. Deep fertilizer injection probably pretty much misses the mark completely, most of the time.

The smart way to fertilize a tree is to broadcast a suitable granular fertilizer over the root zone, let it dissolve and wash into the soil.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 6:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dan Staley

That's funny - I'm on the Board of a District and the landscape firm gave us a proposal to deep-root our blue spruces. I'm going to recommend to the rest of the Board to not spend the money.

IOW: scam.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Here's what the ISA has to say about it (for reference) on their Trees Are Good website:

"There is a long-standing but inaccurate belief that trees must be "deep root" fertilized. This notion is associated with the myth that a tree's root system is an underground mirror of the crown. Because most of the absorbing roots are actually in the upper few inches of soil, it makes little sense to place the fertilizer deeper."

and

"In most U.S. soils, the vast majority of trees' fibrous, absorbing roots are in the top eight inches of soil. Roots grow where conditions are best for root growth, where water and oxygen are available. When we place fertilizer twelve to eighteen inches deep in the soil, we are putting it too deep."

Here is a link that might be useful: ISA's TreesAreGood.com

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 10:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gbig2(6)

Thanks for the help. I won't be deep root fertilizing. If it dies maybe we'll replace it with a bald cypress. So fertilization isn't the issue, moisture is, but would it hurt to sprinkle soybean meal around the drip zone? Is it a bad time of year to fertilize with organics?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If soybean meal is not what it needs then you would be wasting your time and what you paid to get the meal.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 1:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
itfox2003

Ok, I know this is an old post. I still find it interesting non the less. On the subject of deep root zone fert injections, it really depends on what your goals and expectations, and how the work is performed.

Smaller trees can benifit from a root zone injection, but it has to be put in the right place, if injected to deep it will do no good, if injected to shallow it has a possibility of burning out grass if in a turf area. The best injections are done in non turf area where the probe is barely inserted in the ground. This would be about 2 to 3 inches, or even common in shrub bed ares to to a surface drench.

Certain insecticides are better suited for injections then any other way since it reduces the drift and off target applications.

Often larger trees the only affective way to treat the whole tree is to either do a soil injection or a trunk injection. For fertilizer it would be a soil injection, insecticides would best be a trunk injection. Most larger trees however wont show much difference when fertilized unless they had a specific problem that caused decline of the crown when fertilizer would have some benefits.

Now with that being said would fertilizer help this tree?

If to much moister is the problem then fertilizer won't help it, just like if it were to dry fert also would not make better. Trees need a specific amount of water to function right, if the tree is subject to too much or too little it will become stressed and cause the tree to become susceptible to disease and insects. A healthy tree does better then a weak tree. With that said a little fertilizer would help the tree in the sort term, but would do nothing for these overall health.

Now the best thing for this tree, and others with similar issues would be to move the tree to a suitable location. Water the tree as needed, trim tree back slightly to help increase growth, and fertilize as needed to help the tree reestablished. For the old spot that has a lot of moisture pick a plant that loves water. It will help dry out the area so ther things will grow better. Just watch the plant since during dry times you might have to water it if the area become too dry for the new plant. Proper cultural practices go along way to avoid costly applications of fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. My knowledge comes from 13 years in the tree and lawn industry. I have extensive experience in tree trimming, planting, fertilizing, and applying fungicides/insecticides. I tell customers what they should really do even if it means not getting the sale. Since they see my honesty and will turn to me next time they need something done since the see me as a person not trying to scam them. I know other people in the industry don't act the same, so be Leary of someone that tells you this is the problem, but we won't fix that we will do something else instead. That ge like going to the dr he tells you, you have a broken leg. So let's increase your fiber intake. Just doesn't make sence.

I hope my reply helps anyone else that may end up on this site.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

This information might be of interest.http://www.gardenmyths.com/trees-need-deep-root-fertilization/

Here is a link that might be useful: garden myths

    Bookmark   January 17, 2015 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

In the link from that last post, Pavlis (the author) seems slightly wishy-washy to me. He presents plenty of reasons not to deep-root fertilize, but then seems to forget or question some of his own reasoning. I do agree with what he said about many of the counter responses being from people who "make some of their money selling the service of deep root fertilization."

    Bookmark   January 17, 2015 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wisconsitom

"Deep-Root" fertilization, while not necessarily a scam, is a misrepresentation of where tree feeder roots are found, as mentioned above by BBoy, et al. And also quite correctly, he and others state that the way to provide nutrients to an established tree's root system is to broadcast material over the soil surface. If mulch is present, no matter-just go over the top of that.

None of which should be taken to indicate that providing nutrients to this tree is what it needs. That's a separate issue. But "deep-root" is an old idea whose time has come......and gone.

+oM

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 9:21AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry or White Fringe Tree?
They're both adorable! Looking at both of these to...
ilovemytrees
Green Giant Thuja- Is it True how fast it grows???
Hi there, we recently moved and wanted a privacy hedge...
digsdahlias
Green-limbed Tree?
What kind of tree is this with the green trunk &...
blakrab
ID for silver tree
Need ID on medium upright growth tree; small silver...
roselady35
So happy that this is the 1st spring where I don't have......
Vole damage. Burying our fences underground 6 inches...
ilovemytrees
Sponsored Products
Signature Designs by Ashley Tivona Coffee Leather Chair
Overstock.com
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Artistic Weavers Rugs John Black 8 ft.
Home Depot
Ocean Light Oushak Rug 9' x 12'
$4,999.00 | Horchow
Nova Lighting 4035/4177 Mushroom Spider Arm 5 Light Arc Floor Lamp - 4035
$503.70 | Hayneedle
Pre-lit Grand Noble Artificial Christmas Tree with Commercial Lights
$999.00 | FRONTGATE
Tommy 5 Piece Queen Bedroom Set in Black
$1,244.00 | LexMod
Hawthorne Table Lamp in White & Mahogany
| Dot & Bo
Gus Modern | Jarvis Bi-Sectional - Quick Ship
YLiving.com
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™