Tree and Shrub Fertilization Guide for Utah Homeowners

Tree and shrub fertilization provides plants with essential nutrients that may be missing from the soil. When properly applied, fertilizer promotes healthy, vigorous growth and poses no harm to people, pets or the environment.


Fertilization can be beneficial to both new and established trees and shrubs. However, many gardeners seem to think that the more they fertilize, the better their plants will grow, and that simply isn’t the case. Applying too much fertilizer can lead to decline or even plant death and potentially harm the environment.

Provide the right amount and type of fertilizer, however, and your shrubs and trees will remain beautiful, healthy and strong, year after year.

When Should You Fertilize Trees and Shrubs?

Proper timing is imperative for fertilizer application.

In most cases, fall-planted shrubs and trees should be fertilized in early spring when the ground is workable and it’s still early in the growing season. For spring plantings, you should wait about six to eight weeks to apply fertilizer.

However, fertilization timing isn’t set in stone. If a tree or shrub shows yellowing or has extremely slow growth, it may be time for an application.

How Do You Determine the Best Fertilizer for Trees and Shrubs?

Native Utah soils don’t have many of the nutrients necessary for robust shrub and tree growth.

Every species has unique needs, but a fertilizer high in nitrogen is often recommended for shrubs and trees. Increased nitrogen provides more of a growth-boosting effect than other nutrients. In addition, Utah homeowners may want to look for fertilizers that contain manganese and iron.

How Do You Fertilize Trees and Shrubs?

Many types of fertilizer are available today, but they are all come in one of three formulations — spikes, liquid or granules.

Spikes are the easiest to use. Simply insert them into the ground near the roots of your shrubs and trees and they will slowly and continuously release the fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizers are nutrient-rich fluids that are sprayed onto the ground. Granulated pellet or powder fertilizers are usually applied with a broadcast spreader. With either of these materials, start your fertilization application one foot away from the tree trunk or shrub base and extend coverage to the dripline.

Immediately after applying fertilizer, thoroughly water the plant to allow the nutrients to soak into the soil.

How Can You Get Expert Help for Tree and Shrub Fertilization?

If you want to ensure that your trees and shrubs are getting the correct amount and type of fertilizer to meet their needs, consult with a local tree services company or certified Utah arborist.

A plant expert can determine exactly which nutrients your plants need for strong, healthy growth. And armed with advanced fertilization techniques — including root injections and foliar treatment to the leaves — a professional can dramatically improve shrub and tree health while boosting resistance to disease and insect infestation.

If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area and are looking for a tree and shrub fertilization expert, call on Reliable Tree Care. With more than 20 years of experience, our certified arborist team has the expertise and skill to keep your trees and shrubs growing healthy, strong and beautiful.

Reliable Tree Care offers free comprehensive yard evaluations to northern Utah homeowners and businesses. To schedule your complimentary consultation, or for more information on our tree and shrub fertilization services, contact us today.