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Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

Posted by gbig2 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 16:22

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


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

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


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

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


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

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.


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

  • Posted by whaas 5a Milwaukee (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 17:54

"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.


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 18:31

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.


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 18:55

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.


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

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


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 22:05

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


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

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?


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RE: Deep root fertilization, helpful or scam?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 19, 10 at 1:50

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


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