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What Do Trees Feed On?


In their natural environment Woody plants typically feed on decaying plant matter (fallen breaches and leaves) often produced by themselves. Trees require a certain level of nutrients to grow and have a healthy life, these nutrients are split into 2 distinct categories MICROnutrients and MACROnutrients.


What are macronutrients and micronutrients?


Macronutrients - (N-P-K) are the main ingredients in any fertilizer, they are the nutrients that the plant requires in high supply. Micronutrients-   There are about seven nutrients essential to plant growth and health that are only needed in very small quantities. These are manganese, boron, copper, iron, chlorine, molybdenum, and zinc. Though these are present in only small quantities, they are all necessary.


How Do Trees Feed?


Trees are very complex yet simple.  As we all know trees create oxygen for us to breathe through a process known as PHOTOSYNTHESIS. When the sun hits the leaves of the tree evaporation occurs and water/moisture actually leaves the leaves ( pardon the pun ).  This creates pressure all the way to the roots much like a straw.  The straw effect is how the tree draws water up from the ground.  The roots underground actively dissolve nutrients from the soil and it is carried through the tree by the water delivering nutrients and minerals to their desired locations for use.

-How Does Feed Trees? At we feel plant health care is important and a little can go a long way.  When the technician(s) arrives at your door they will first assess the property to identify plants/trees on their service list to be done and to assess the health of all trees and shrubs on the property.  If there are plants  that require attention that aren't on the list a note will be made and the information will be  passed on to you the client.  A tank on the truck holds the fertilizer and a pump runs it through a long line or hose to the feed gun.  The feed gun is plunged into the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches (prime depth for most trees is 10").  Once in the soil at correct depth the technician will pull the trigger and spray pressurized liquid into the soil.  This will achieve 3 things: 1.  Aerate the root system (hole created by prod and pressure loosens soil) 2. Water the tree (fertilizer is a sand like substance delivered by water) 3. Feed the trees roots. (soil strains out minerals and nutrients and holds them at the right place for the roots to slowly dissolve them. Once the service technician (Certified Arborist, Forester or Horticuluturalist) has fertilized the entire root zone on your property they will reel up the hose, finalize the service and send the invoice.  Another happy tree!


Why Feed My tree?


In an urban environment trees are at a disadvantage as we humans like to practice good housekeeping habits in our yards.  This means branches and leaves get cleaned up before returning to the earth as nutritious soil.  Trees also undergo many unnatural stresses (road salt, lawnmower on exposed root etc.) that they wouldn't otherwise be exposed to in their natural environment ( forest ).  Without these returning nutrients trees are subject to diseases and stresses that would otherwise be of minor concern ( ie: tar spot, anthracnose, chlorosis).   Another factor that stops trees from getting their nutrients are lawns.  Grass feeds on Nitrogen at a very high rate, this is a problem for trees.


How Do Trees Grow?


Growth is determined by environmental factors, such as temperature, available water, available light, and available nutrients in the soil. Any change in the availability of these external conditions will be reflected in the plants growth.

Essentially the sun shines on the tree, the tree creates oxygen and evaporates water pressurizing the vascular tissues of the tree (xylem and phloem) drawing minerals and nutrients up from the roots through the Xylem and then the leaves send carbohydrates (sugars) through the Phloem to areas of requirement in the tree.  During all this activity the Cambium  layer, just under the bark of the tree, spends the growth season dividing cells and creating more Xylem.

Created by ISA Certified Arborists



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