Can fertilizer spikes kill trees?

Don’t be tempted to place the spikes close to the tree trunk. Too much fertilizer can weaken and even kill your trees.

Can you use fertilizer spikes on new trees?

A: Broadcast fertilizers work best on trees and shrubs as they feed the whole root area. The disadvantage of fertilizer spikes is they only get to the roots immediately surrounding the spike. If you currently have fertilizer spikes, simply crumble them and spread them under the canopy of the tree or shrub.

What happens if you over fertilize trees? When you apply excess fertilizer to plants, the result is yellow or brown discoloration and root damage. Fertilizer burn symptoms may appear within a day or two, or it may take a couple of weeks if you use a slow-release fertilizer. Symptoms include yellowing, browning and withering.

How many fertilizer spikes do you need for a tree?

No wasteful runoff, no mess, hazards or smells. Spikes should be placed along the tree’s dripline. Number of Spikes Needed per Tree: For one to two inches of trunk diameter, use two tree spikes. Number of Spikes Needed per Shrub: use one spike per three feet of height.

Do fertilizer Spikes really work?

They are actually designed to be hammered into the ground. Although fertilizer spike manufacturers may claim that the spikes take the guesswork out of fertilizing, that claim is true only up to a point. The spikes work, but you still have to calculate how much fertilizer to use for your specific plants.

How Do You Use Fertilizer Spikes On Trees?

There are several brands of tree and shrub fertilizer spikes you can buy in the market. Generally speaking, an all-purpose tree fertilizer should be suitable for all tree varieties. However, you can get a specific kind that’s specially formulated for your tree type.

All fertilizer spikes for trees and shrubs will have usage instructions on the packaging or the label, and it’s recommended that you follow them to prevent the occurrence of fertilizer burn and tree death. If the spike fertilizer is old and the package or label has become unreadable, follow these step-by-step instructions.

Step 1. Find and locate the drip line of the tree you wish to fertilize.

Step 2. Open the fertilizer spike package and lay out hole markings at a distance of three feet apart.

Step 3. Put the fertilizer spike in the ground securely. You may need to dig up a hole beforehand or hammer them in gently.

You can water the soil around the spikes to activate the fertilizer, which will leach nutrients into the ground. Most fertilizer spikes are designed to release nutrients over some time, so replacing them every month with new ones is not necessary.

Your trees should begin to perk up and show improvement about two to three weeks after planting the fertilizer spikes. Most slow-release fertilizers tend to last anywhere between two to eight months.


When should I use tree fertilizer spikes?

The spikes dissolve gradually. In most situations you won’t have to worry about fertilizing your trees but twice a year. Use fertilizer spikes once in early spring and again in mid-fall when topsoil is moist, but not saturated.

can fertilizer spikes kill trees

The best time to fertilize trees is at the start of their growing season, which is usually in the spring season. New growth will emerge, and you can support this push by giving the plant the nutrient it needs, along with water.

The timing may differ from one tree species to another, as well as the type of fertilizer that works best for them.

Tree fertilizer spikes may be planted to the ground twice per growing season- one in spring and the other during the start of the fall season. Fertilizing during winter is not recommended as most trees enter a period of dormancy, and forcing them to grow new branches and leaves can result in winter damage.

Advantages of using fertilizer spikes include:

• The spikes dissolve gradually. In most situations you won’t have to worry about fertilizing your trees but twice a year. Use fertilizer spikes once in early spring and again in mid-fall when topsoil is moist, but not saturated.

• Fertilizer spikes are a lot easier to handle and store than bags of granular fertilizer.

• Using fertilizer sticks can stimulate biological activity in the soil, which promotes pest and disease resistance.

• Over-fertilization isn’t as likely as it is with granular or liquid fertilizers. This is because fertilizer spikes are available in pre-mixed formulas designed for specific uses, such as evergreen, ornamental or fruit tree applications.

Disadvantages include:

• Sometimes the spike will shatter when you hammer it into the ground. A way to avoid this is to pound a wooden stake into the ground first and then pull it out. The spike will now go into the ground easily without breaking. I use a rubber mallet.

• Don’t be tempted to place the spikes close to the tree trunk. Too much fertilizer can weaken and even kill your trees. Keep the spikes at the drip line.

• Per tree, spikes are a little more expensive than granular or liquid fertilizer.

• Sideways fertilizer movement is limited in the soil. This means the spikes sometimes only distribute nutrients to a small section of the root zone, causing the root system to concentrate root growth near the spike more so than in other areas.


What are signs of over fertilizing?

  • Crust of fertilizer on soil surface.
  • Yellowing and wilting of lower leaves.
  • Browning leaf tips and margins.
  • Browned or blackened limp roots.
  • Defoliation.
  • Very slow or no growth.
  • Death of seedlings.

Can plants recover from over fertilizing?

Don’t worry, most over fertilized plants can be saved by a few simple steps. Remove visible fertilizer from the plant and soil, and leach away the fertilizer by allowing water to run through the roots. Then, remove damaged foliage and wait about a month before feeding your plant again.

How much fertilizer is too much?

Use 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer such as 10-20-10 for every 100 square feet of garden area. Do not use too much fertilizer. This can kill plants. Two cups of most fertilizers will weigh about 1 pound.

What is the best fertilizer for trees?

A complete fertilizer, such as 16-4-8, 12-6-6 or 12-4-8, is generally recommended, unless the soil test reveals that phosphorus and potassium are adequate. Two kinds of fertilizers are available: fast-release and slow-release.

What is the best time to fertilize trees?

For all trees and shrubs. If needed, the best time to fertilize is late April or early May, or late fall once plants are dormant. The recommended fertilizer should be spread evenly across the soil surface.

How do you fertilize a large tree?

Just spread the granular fertilizer on the ground evenly around the edge of the tree’s canopy (dripline). Do not put fertilizer within one foot (minimum) of the trunk. For trees growing in turf, fertilizer is best applied beneath the root zone of the grass.

Where do I put fertilizer spikes?

Using spikes designed for your specific type of plant, place them in soft, damp soil around its drip line. This line is the area below its circumference, so rain or condensation will fall where the spikes are placed and promote root growth towards the fertilizer.

Can I crush fertilizer spikes?

They’re rich in the nutrients needed for healthy trees and shrubs; they’re approved for organic use; and they won’t break, crush, or smash!

What is a good plant fertilizer?

  • FoxFarm Happy Frog All Purpose Fertilizer. …
  • Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer. …
  • Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow Plant Food 7-9-5. …
  • Maxsea Plant Food 16-16-16. …
  • Dr. …
  • Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster Fertilizer 10-30-20. …
  • Espoma Flower-Tone Blossom Booster Organic Granules Plant Food.

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