When rain and sunshine seem to be not enough, you can give your plants an extra push to grow in the right direction. One of the first resorts is using fertilizers. So, if you’re finding a hard time finding the perfect fertilizer for your trees and shrubs, this article gives you good insights for an informed decision.
Inlined with this, here are some of the best-reviewed and most effective fertilizers for your trees and shrubs.
- Tree and Shrub Fertilizer Spikes by Jobes – Best Overall
- Fertilome 10864 Tree and Shrub Food by Voluntary Purchasing Group – Best Value
- All Natural Tree &Shrub Fertilizer Mix by Down to Earth – Editor’s Choice
- Water Soluble All-Purpose Plant Food by Miracle-Gro
- 3002410 Shake N’ Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs by Miracle-Gro
- 14636 Root Feeder Refills by Ross
- Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor by Osmocote
- 1 #1. Tree and Shrub Fertilizer Spikes by Jobes – Best Overall
- 2 #2. Fertilome 10864 Tree and Shrub Food by Voluntary Purchasing Group – Best Value
- 3 #3. All Natural Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Mix by Down to Earth – Editor’s Choice
- 4 #4. Water Soluble All-Purpose Plant Food by Miracle-Gro
- 5 #5. 3002410 Shake N’ Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs by Miracle-Gro
- 6 #6. 14636 Root Feeder Refills by Ross
- 7 #7. Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor by Osmocote
- 8 Why do you need to add fertilizers to your trees and shrubs?
- 9 When is the ideal time to fertilize plants?
- 10 How can you determine whether your shrubs and trees need fertilization?
- 11 How often should you fertilize your trees and shrubs?
- 12 Which is the best fertilizer for your tree?
- 13 Related posts:
#1. Tree and Shrub Fertilizer Spikes by Jobes – Best Overall
- Item Weight: 1 pounds
- Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 2 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: Spikes, continuous release
- Ratio: 16 – 4 – 4 (5 spikes)
- Also available in: 9 spikes (15 – 3 – 3), 15 spikes (16 – 14 – 4), 160 spikes (16 – 14 – 4)
- Active Ingredients: Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur
Jobes fertilizer contains easy-to-use, pre-measured spikes nourished at the roots. Each stick contains a N – P – K formula that is suitable for a beautiful, leafy foliage.
This time-release fertilizer continuously supplies nutrients below the surface, where the plants’ active roots grow. Its unique shape and design ensure] that all plants receive an equal share of nutrients.
You can easily insert each spike around every tree’s dripline and cover them with soil. The spikes involve a slow-release mechanism, so they are ideal for newly-planted and young trees.
The main feature of this fertilizer is that it can last for an entire season. Once applied at the beginning of the season, the spikes can last until the end of the growing season. It eliminates waste and saves your budget.
The spikes are perfect for deciduous trees and shrubs, including dogwood, elm, oak, maple, birch, and poplar, and this makes it the best fertilizer for trees and shrubs. Plus, it has received good ratings from its customers as an excellent, convenient fertilizer.
|Easy to use and store||Slightly expensive than other fertilizers|
|Lasts throughout the entire season||Adding too many spikes destroys trees|
|Ideal for long-term tree and shrub fertilization|
|Promotes resistance to pests and diseases||Spikes need to be kept dry upon opening the packet|
|You only need to apply it twice a year (Early Spring and Late Fall)|
#2. Fertilome 10864 Tree and Shrub Food by Voluntary Purchasing Group – Best Value
- Item Weight: 4.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 4 x 6.5 x 12.5 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: Chemical, slow-release fertilizer
- Ratio: 19-8-10
- Also available in: 20 pounds, Single pack, Two-pack, Three-pack, Four pack
- Active Ingredients: Nitrogen and Magnesium
If you own a vast landscape and are looking for cheap and effective fertilizer, then the Voluntary Purchasing Group (VPG) Fertilome 10863 Tree and Shrub Food is your best choice. The VPG Fertilome 10864 is scientifically-tested plant food. Its best feature involves a penetrating action formula that does not require to dig holes when applying it to your plants.
Once used, it quickly attacks your plants’ roots, providing you immediate results. When using it, you need to add this plant food to your trees and shrubs’ drip lines. It works effectively for various trees and shrubs, specifically citrus trees, flowering plants, and shade trees.
Note that you need to feed the trees at least a few times annually using this fertilizer, and you can do so with more than 8 single four-inch diameter landscape. Thus, it is ideal for the majority of garden spaces.
|Cheap price||Works better on trees than shrubs and herbs|
|Suitable for both small and vast landscapes|
|No need to dig holes|
|Noticeable effect in a few days|
|Applicable to both small plants and trees|
#3. All Natural Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Mix by Down to Earth – Editor’s Choice
- Item Weight: 0.634 ounces
- Dimensions: 11.5 x 9.45 x 3.66 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: Organic, slow-releasing
- Ratio: 4-2-4
- Also available in: 25 lbs, 5 lbs
- Active Ingredients: Soybean Meal, Fish Bones Meal, Feather Meal, Langbeinite, Rock Phosphate, Kelp Meal, and Basalt
Down to Earth is a less-popular brand, but it is well-received by eco-minded gardeners and homesteaders. If you’re looking for organic fertilizers, this is a great choice.
The Tree and Shrub Fertilizer is specially formulated for general tree maintenance and planting bare root and container planted trees. It involves a complex mixture of natural ingredients that are kind to your garden. On the downside, this can have a certain smell that can attract unwanted wildlife.
Moreover, its natural compound is delicate and does not burn young trees or shrub roots. It includes a mixture of four species of Endomycorrhizal fungi and seven species of Ectomycorrhizal fungi. You can mix these beneficial microbes into the soil directly under cuttings, shrubs, vines, and bare root trees, or you can blend them into potting mixes.
You need to ensure physical contact between the roots and the inoculated fertilizer. You can use this product to maximize root contact by mixing it into the planting hole for new transplants or adding it to small holes drilled into the soil surrounding established trees and shrubs.
|Full of natural quality organic ingredients||Natural ingredients smell slightly|
|Gentle to use directly on young tree roots|
- Item Weight: 10 pounds
- Dimensions: 4.5 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: Mineral Fertilizer
- Ratio: 24-8-16
- Also available in: 8 oz., 1.5 lbs., 3 lbs., 4 lbs., 5 lbs., 5.5 lbs., 6 lbs., and 10 lbs.
Miracle-Gro is a popular and trusted brand among gardeners, and it is truly a miracle in delivering results. The Miracle-Gro Water-Soluble All-Purpose Plant Food is a versatile and easy-to-use fertilizer for vegetables, houseplants, trees, and more.
There are two ways in which you can apply this fertilizer. One would be shaking it onto the area that needs fertilization, then watering the ground for proper dispersion. Another way is by simply adding the food directly into your watering can, mix it, then move on to watering your plants as you usually do. The latter saves you more time than having to complete two steps.
Although you have to feed your plants every one to two weeks, it immediately provides you with the nutrients they need, making them about twice as bigger and healthier. It is full of essential nutrients that allow your plants to grow bigger compared to unfed plants.
The Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food is safe for all plants, including vegetables. You cannot burn plants when used according to the directions, so you don’t need to buy a separate product for each.
|Safe for all plants||A bit time-consuming|
|Does not burn plants||Needs reapplication weekly|
|Can be applied at any time of the day|
- Item Weight: 8.64 pounds
- Dimensions: 4.25 x 13.5 x 7 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: Plant food, slow-release
- Also available in: 1 lbs., 4.5 lbs.
You can have the benefit of extended-release formula with Miracle Gro’s Shake N’ Feed plant food. It mixes the excellent formula of Miracle-Gro with a long-lasting design that comes in different variations to choose from.
It comes in all-purpose formulas and rose, palm, vegetable, and weed preventing formulas. You can use this on both planted and potted flowers. With its extended-release formula, you can enjoy the benefits of this fertilizer for the next three months.
It promotes bloom growth and root stem strength of your plants, as it is made with the freshest ingredients, including kelp, bone meal, and earthworm castings. With this combination, you can have the perfect formula that helps keep your plants healthy all year-round.
Compared to other products by Miracle-Gro, you don’t need to water this fertilizer to apply its mixture. However, you can also water the product thoroughly after mixing the in-ground or in-container topsoil with the granules. After shaking, you can pat it down gently on the desired area, and you can enjoy the care that lasts for the next three months.
|An excellent choice for flowering trees, ferns, and palms||Not suitable for all plants|
|Excellent for both indoor and outdoor||Turns leaves yellow with direct contact|
|Easy to apply||Inconsistent formula|
- Item Weight: 1.45 pounds
- Dimensions: 8 x 3 x 8 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: premeasured refills
- Ratio: 25-10-10
- Also available in: 1 Unit, 12 Count, 12 Refills, 36 Count, 54 Count, Economy Model, and Heavy Duty
- Active Ingredients: High-Nitrogen formula
Now you can have beautiful trees all season with the Ross Root Feeder Refills for Trees and Shrubs. If you are looking to get the perfect nutrient balance that you can apply directly to plants’ roots while watering, then this product is for you.
Its special nitrogen formula is great for deciduous trees and shrubs. The formula is premeasured to make fast, easy, mess-free fertilization that does not need mixing or measuring when applied. This is ideal for trees and shrubs, and you can apply this in summer, spring, and fall.
The Ross feeder comes with both fertilizer and fertilizer applicator in one design. These are very easy to install, and it is well-received by customers.
One of the unique characteristics of this product is product is its applicator. It is made with sturdy materials, and it is built to last wear and tear from gardening.
The tough plastic material of the feeder’s head maintains its shape through irrigation. How you apply the fertilizer is almost the same as how other fertilizer sticks are applied, except that you need to add the fertilizer into the head before sticking it into the ground.
With the head inserted in the ground, you can ensure that your roots get an even application of the product. Because the head is made of plastic, consider having ample room in the ground so that you won’t need to use force.
|Fits well in the garden hose||Appears smaller than expected|
|Sturdy and well-made design||Design flaw|
|Smart deep watering design||Reviewed as worse than the old, metal model|
|Easy to use||Weak water flow|
- Item Weight: 8.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 4.2 x 7 x 13.5 inches
- Type of Fertilizer: Smart-Release, Resin-encapsulated
- Ratio: 15-9-12
- Also available in: 1 lb., 2 lb., 4.5 lb., and 25 ct.
- Active Ingredients: Sulfur, Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, and Molybdenum
Oscomote’s best formula is now in their new Smart-Release Plant Food. Fortified with 11 nutrients, this product works well with virtually all plant varieties across all growing conditions. Compared to Ross’ Feeder Refills, Oscomote’s Smart-Release Plant Food allows you to feed both indoor and outdoor potted plants for up to a full six months.
Each nutrient granule is coated with a unique semi-permeable resin, which controls nutritional release. Because of this, plants can have the nutrients they need when they need it. This coating allows water to penetrate each granule and dissolve the nutrients inside. The nutrients are released according to changes in temperature, specifically during warmer active growing periods.
On top of it, the company offers a no-burn pledge when using this product directly. Although it is not a well-known name, it provides an all-in-one solution for a serious gardener.
|Affordable price||Inconsistent pricing|
|Provides relief for both professional and amateurs alike||Leaves plenty of small white plastic balls after dissolving|
|Effective in restoring plant’s color||Not environment-friendly|
|Does not burn plants, even with an extra application|
Top Pick – Best Fertilizers for Trees and Shrubs 2020
Most fertilizers come in liquid or powder form, but Jobe’s Tree and Shrub Fertilizer come in spikes that come in different numbers. The product also comes in different variations for you to choose from, namely citrus and fruit, tree and shrubs, and evergreen varieties that work for a specific garden.
The best thing about this product is that it’s good for long-term use. Its slow-release form allows it to work its magic from the beginning of the season to the end. This makes it an efficient and thrifty choice. Moreover, you can apply this twice annually, once at the beginning of spring and once at the end of fall. With this, you can get the most out of this option for the whole growing season.
You can easily apply the spikes, especially with their unique shape. You can just easily insert them underground after making a hole. Afterward, you can cover them up with soil. This is what makes the Jobe’s Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spike the best fertilizer for trees and shrubs.
Top Brands for Trees and Shrubs Fertilizers
- The Jobe’s Company
With its headquarters located in Waco, Texas, The Jobe’s Company is well-known for its original line of fertilizers and plant spikes. Because of this, the company sold more than 200 products through garden, home improvement, hardware, and discount stores across North America.
The Jobe’s company has additional manufacturing facilities in Kentucky, and they specialize in home and garden products that create short work from garden work. With one garden, planting, for one plant at a time, you can make the world a happier, healthier, more beautiful place.
- Down To Earth Organic Fertilizers
Down To Earth Fertilizer comes with long-standing partnerships, specialized manufacturing processes, and commitment to honest organics, which enable them to produce real premium quality fertilizers. The company is well-known for producing both effective and eco-friendly products for plant care and crop fertilization.
For more than 30 years, the company exists, carefully formulating fertilizers, potting soils, composts, and soil amendments from the best organic plant nutrient sources. They do so in ideal proportions, without needing synthetics, growth stimulants, or low-quality fillers like poultry waste.
They offer various kinds, ranging from multi-purpose blends, single ingredient fertilizers, or specialized soil amendments. Furthermore, they ensure confidence in providing you and your garden or farm the best product in the market.
Miracle-Gro continues to exist for generations with full recognition of its role to protect the planet and responsibility from creating a better life for their associates and consumers. With this, it is no doubt that it is one of America’s most trusted companies.
At their core is the belief that the good can grow anywhere, leading them to invest, especially in communities often left behind. Inlined with its goals, the company developed wellness programs that place their associate’s needs above the line and introduced gardening to 10 million kids within a span of five years.
Miracle-Gro continues to redesign its products and application devices to work harmoniously with the environment, and it continues to positively impact the communities it operates.
What to Consider When Buying Fertilizers for Trees and Shrubs (Buyer’s Guide)
You need to observe certain factors and needed action when buying the perfect soil for your trees and shrubs. Among them are:
- Regular Soil Test
Before you make your purchase, you must check the best kind of fertilizer for your garden or region’s needs. A soil test would help you know a lot about your garden soil. In doing so, you need to consider factors such as acidity and soil fertility. By knowing these factors, you can move on to the next step and under how to balance your soil’s pH level.
Part of conducting the soil test is to observe your plants’ appearance and color and to add fertilizer as needed, especially if you notice yellow-colored leaves, broken twigs, and small-sized leaves.
Moreover, observing an increase in pests will also help you determine how your plants are infected with diseases. The lack of the necessary nutrients causes stunted growth in stems, roots, and leaves. If you conduct a regular soil test, you can determine which nutrients your plant will need.
- Nutrients in Fertilizer
Plants need different types of nutrients, and it is important to have the right amount of soil and nutrients.
Some of the primary nutrients you need to have in the soil include:
- Nitrogen facilitates plant growth, production of vivid, green leaf color, and leaf development.
- Phosphorous is responsible for the creation of seeds, fruits, and flowers, and root growth.
- Potassium, also termed as potash, also contributes to root development and resistance to drought and disease.
Moreover, you will also need secondary nutrients that are often found in soil and air:
On the other hand, there are also macronutrients that soil needs to take up in small amounts, which are:
- Fertilizer Numbers
A fertilizer package consists of three prominent numbers, also known as the NPK value, which is a guaranteed analysis or fertilizer grade. This NPK value lets you know the percentage of the available primary macronutrients according to the weight per package. It consists of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K), accordingly. To identify the amount of each in a bag, multiply the percentage by the bag’s weight.
- Release Designs of the Fertilizer
Tree and shrub fertilizers can be classified according to the speed that it breaks down into the soil and disperses its macro and micronutrients to the plant. With this, fertilizers for trees and shrubs can either be slow-release or quick-release compounds.
- Slow-Release Tree Fertilizer
This type of fertilizer will benefit young trees. They provide a steady release of fertilizer and are less likely to burn to the young tree’s tender roots. Compared to WSN, water-insoluble nitrogen is available in two varieties, including sulfur-coated fertilizers that last for about eight weeks and polymer-coated fertilizers that can last for about 12 weeks.
The time varieties may vary according to the amount of rainfall, but you don’t need to apply these fertilizers to produce even more growth. More importantly, burning caused by nitrogen is not a concern for this type of fertilizer.
- Quick-Release Tree Fertilizer
Quick-release fertilizers work more efficiently on established, mature trees that need a quick nutrient boost. This will work best, most especially if your tree appears tired, looks yellow, and lacks vitality. It is also known as water-soluble nitrogen (WSN), which immediately provides nitrogen to your plants and lasts for three to four weeks, depending on temperature and rainfall.
Other Types of Fertilizers for Trees and Shrubs
There are other two main types of fertilizers that you can find on the market, namely mineral and organic fertilizers. Both of these fertilizers can come in the form of liquid, granular, or spikes.
- Organic or Natural Tree Fertilizers
Organic tree fertilizers are made from natural ingredients, such as manure and plant residue. These provide you with less precise nutrient quantities, but they are made from naturally-occurring ingredients that are not chemically processed.
- Inorganic or Mineral Tree Fertilizers
Mineral Tree Fertilizers are chemically processed and are responsible for supplying plants with enough essential nutrients. On the other hand, organic fertilizers are made from natural sources, including manure and plant residue. It provides you with less precise nutrient quantity yet is made from naturally-occurring materials that do not undergo chemical processing.
Typically, they are nitrogen-based compounds that have sodium nitrate and ammonium sulfate. An all-purpose mineral fertilizer contains a complete ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium mixture.
The elements can be controlled with great accuracy during the manufacturing process, and this brings excellent results. On the other hand, they are chemically derived.
With many fertilizers promising excellent effects on your plants based on reviews and unique features, you should keep in mind that different trees and shrubs have different nutritional requirements. You need to choose the products that will work best on your specific plants’ lifestyle.
Choosing the best fertilizers for your trees and shrubs is a matter of considering all the suggested factors and your plants’ specific needs. If a certain fertilizer does not seem to work for your plant, take note that each fertilizer works from the root up. With the right fertilizer, your plants can get the best benefits of becoming healthy and vibrant. Healthy plants make happy gardens.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Why do you need to add fertilizers to your trees and shrubs?
Fertilizers can allow trees and shrubs to stay robust and healthy. Trees are strong and sturdy. However, due to external factors like sun, wind, pests, and rain, a tree’s poor health becomes visible for some time. This is why adding good quality fertilizers can ensure that trees can withstand these factors and adjust accordingly.
When is the ideal time to fertilize plants?
Before being sold in the market, fertilizers undergo testing in laboratories using formulas. You can use most fertilizers throughout the year, so you don’t have to worry about the ideal time to fertilize your trees and shrubs. However, if you live in a tropical region, you need to make sure that you water your plants more often. Similarly, staying in a cool part of the country will require you to use the right kind of fertilizer to grow your garden.
How can you determine whether your shrubs and trees need fertilization?
It depends on the region where you reside. Note that forests contain a higher grade of soil nutrients than garden soil you see in urban areas. Removing twigs, leaves, and other bark from your garden eliminates nutrients used for recycling in the garden. Moreover, the grass present in the garden often uses nutrients required for trees and shrubs. Therefore, fertilizing plants would facilitate the same cycle that happens in a forest.
How often should you fertilize your trees and shrubs?
The answer will depend on your tree’s age and the season. Young plants often require more fertilizing to become strong. As a rule of thumb, you can feed your young shrubs once every two weeks until they mature.
It will also depend on whether you use a slow- or extended-release fertilizer. To avoid burning your plants, read the fertilizer’s directions, and use it accordingly.
Once your trees and shrubs grow and mature, they will be needing less fertilization, specifically once in spring and once in fall. This will help strengthen your plant for both dormant and growing seasons.
Which is the best fertilizer for your tree?
The ideal fertilizer works slowly with a low salt index using a controlled release. Some of the key ingredients present in these fertilizers include phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.
Moreover, some fertilizers come with amino acid and PPA, while other trees in certain regions lack macronutrients. If you happen to live in similar areas, you need to ensure that you provide your trees and shrubs with those nutrients.