Nature or nurture sick trees

I have now two trees on my new lot exhibiting signs of sickness. A red oak and a black birch. In reality it was due to the builders and the way they "rearranged things". I was told by tree expert that instead of spending a lot of money on expensive treatments I should try lawn fertilizer on the drip line. Is this worth a shot or should I just let the tree try to restablish itself? Does anyone have specifics on the process. At this stage I know to use holes 18" deep on the drip line in a concentric circle. But how much fertilzer? I have a 10:10:10 mix I was going to try.
Thanks in advance.
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It is never advisable to fertilize a sick tree, unless it is showing signs of nutrient deficiency. If the trees are ailing because their root zones have been compacted or partially destroyed via passing heavy equipment, there is very little you can do to save them. Red oaks are somewhat tolerant of this as are bleck birch, so the builder must have really done a number on their root zones.
Dave

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experience with compost tea and biologically active compost. There are several folks in the Hamptons who've successfully salvaged trees. We often mange the feat here in the desert.
Failing that, find a good compost and vertical mulch with compost and compost tea. Seeks out a fungally dominated compost.
Where are you located? Perhaps I can resource someone with the needed skills.....
James Sotillo in New York has had lots of success......
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so instead of broadcasting fertilizer around the tree drill holes and fill with compost and tea? can this help compacted soil? Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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Using an air spade to remove a layer of the compacted soil, is considered to be more effective by its practitioners. http://www.air-spade.com/air-spad.htm
I have regularly used a gas powered auger and drilled 3-4" diameter by 18" depth and filled with compost and inoculated with tested biologically diverse aerobic compost tea. http://www.intlctc.org /
Core drilling is much more destruction of the root system and may create additional problems. Despite the risks it may be an important part of the restoration. Great care must be taken to minimize the damage to large roots. Compaction seems to make a tree more suspectable to diseases. I believe that is due to compacted soils lack of biological diversity. Compactions effect is really not unlike the effect of "icide" usage. Simply the destruction of soil biota in both scenarios. Simple core aeration top dressing with 3 inches of TESTED quality compost under the entire canopy will have fairly quick results. The addition of quality ACT and micorhizae will accelerate the recovery.
http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/SoilBiology/soil_food_web.htm
"The Soil Biology Primer Chapter 1: THE SOIL FOOD WEB By Elaine R. Ingham
SOIL BIOLOGY AND THE LANDSCAPE An incredible diversity of organisms make up the soil food web. They range in size from the tiniest one-celled bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa, to the more complex nematodes and micro-arthropods, to the visible earthworms, insects, small vertebrates, and plants.
As these organisms eat, grow, and move through the soil, they make it possible to have clean water, clean air, healthy plants, and moderated water flow.
There are many ways that the soil food web is an integral part of landscape processes. Soil organisms decompose organic compounds, including manure, plant residue, and pesticides, preventing them from entering water and becoming pollutants. They sequester nitrogen and other nutrients that might otherwise enter groundwater, and they fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to plants. Many organisms enhance soil aggregation and porosity, thus increasing infiltration and reducing runoff. Soil organisms prey on crop pests and are food for above-ground animals."
Citation for this web page: Tugel, A.J., A.M. Lewandowski, eds. (February 2001 -- last update). Soil Biology Primer [online]. Available: soils.usda.gov/sqi/soil_biology_primer.htm [access date].
Either of the following are correct citations for the current edition of the booklet: Tugel, Arlene, Ann Lewandowski, Deb Happe-vonArb, eds. 2000. Soil Biology Primer. Rev. ed. Ankeny, Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). 2000. Soil Biology Primer. Rev. ed. Ankeny, Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Citation for the first edition of the booklet: Tugel, A.J., A.M. Lewandowski, eds.1999. Soil Biology Primer. NRCS Soil Quality Institute, Ames, IA.
On Mon, 21 Jul 2003 14:27:16 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

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find out what the problem is first, then move to correct it. My mother nursed along both a copper beech and a birch (hit by miners) at first and now the copper beech is simply magnificent (rare in zone 5 skirting edges of zone 4). the birch recovered after putting sufficient systemic insecticide down and it too is magnificent. if the tree expert diagnosed the problem as poor quality, low nutrient soil, then as the expert how much and what kind of fertilizer to use too. if you are where there is winter coming, I would be hesitant to fertilize at this time of year. I wouldnt want to stimulate the tree to too much growth which will not harden off properly before winter. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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