On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 14:23:05 GMT, "Badri Krishnamachari"
Deciduous trees are best fertilized during the winter months. Use
34-0-0 in a hand-held spreader to distribute the fertilizer within the
drip-line circle. This fertilizer is strong stuff and can burn the
grass, but I always fertilze when the ground is wet or covered with
snow and never had any grass burn issues. You will see the grass in
this area to take on a bright green color. I use about 1 cup of
fertilzer for each inch of the diameter of the tree (ie, 5 cups of
fertilizer for a tree of 5" in diameter) per month (October through
March). Do not attempt to spread the fertilizer by hand else it will
liekly burn the grass. An alternative is to use fertilizer tree
spikes, although these are more expensive. My sweet gum tree is over
80 feet high and I don't really want it to get any larger so I don't
fertilize it. To keep the pH below 7, use a pine needle or peat moss
you absolutley should NOT use 34-0-0 fertilizer on your sweetgum tree. Have a
soil test done and this will tell you how much phosphorus and potassium is in
your soil. I would reccommend using a fertilizer with a low nitrogen
percentage. Using one with high nitrogen and zero phosphorus and potassium can
cause long and droopy new shoots that cannot support thier own weight. The
numbers on the bag dont really matter that much so long as it is balanced, that
is it includes N, P, and K.
Unless it's just been transplanted, it shouldn't need to be fertilized.
Never knew anyone who did fertilize a sweetgum tree. I've got a huge one
in my front yard, and I've never fertilized it.
They do, however, like plenty of water. I keep the lawn and beds under
the drip line, and about 15' beyond, very well watered. The roots extend
under my neighbor's lawn, too. He doesn't water that area enough so you
can fairly clearly see how far and where the roots go. The grass over
them dies each July.
Make sure you aerate your lawn each fall. That will allow the rains to
get down deeper. If the tree really does need nutrients, top-dress your
lawn with some nice organic material after aerating.
Bottom line: Keeping the area under the tree well watered is usually all
you'll need to do for a sweetgum tree.
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