I have just transplanted a small spruce from the woods out behind my house,
to my side yard. The tree is about 15 inches tall, (smallish). Can I put a
Jobe-spike in the hole now, or should I wait awhile, until the transplant
"shock" wears off?
Wait a year, you can harm a small tree with fertiliser, one spike is
rated for inch size of the trunk so its also possibly to much
fertiliser. How good is your soil, Best might be just spreading out
good soil or compost around it.
You want to help it overcome the transplant shock without encouraging
new upper plant growth. Use a weak miracle grow mix followed by a root
stimulator fertilizer. (low 1st number with high second number, like
I would suggest you can use them, but I would put only a few and only
like a foot away from the root ball. That should encourage root growth out
of the existing root ball into the surrounding soil. You don't want to
shock it with a lot of fertilizer now.
I'd wait a few months. You should have added compost to the hole
during the transplant? Give the transplant a thorough soak every
week. Compared to deciduous trees spruce don't need much fertilizer
If the tree is in a sodded area you shouldn't have to fertilize at all --
the tree will get enough nutrients from the lawn fertilizer you use. Also,
I'd recommend against using the fertilizer spikes which are, in my opinion,
a victory of marketing over substance. With a spike you've got a
superabundance of fertilizer in one location which is likely to kill off
adjacent roots, and little or no fertilizer over most of the root ball.
You'll wind up with green blotches of turf around each spike but inefficient
or even counterproductive fertilization for the tree. If the tree is not in
a lawn area where it can benefit from the lawn fertilizer, scatter a
fertilizer with slow release nitrogen on the surface. You can check with
your extension service about recommended ratios of chemicals, but probably
something like a 1-1-1 ratio (e.g., 8-8-8) or a 1-0-2 ratio (e.g., 10-0-20)
with most of the nitrogen being slow release should be satisfactory.
Forget the job spike it's no better than commom garden fertilizer
broadcast on the surface.
However consider that what you want to do is like asking a heart
transplant patient to eat a thanksgiving meal and run a marathon right
A better idea would be a few inches of shredded leaves as mulch and
careful attention to watering.
If you must fertilize it, wait til next year.
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