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Tree Fertilizer Programs

tree fertilizing for Austin, Texas The main thing that sets Austin Tree Experts apart from our competition is our unique approach to tree health care management. We have a regimented program that includes a few timely treatments over the course of a year combined with regular inspections. Most tree companies will tell you what they think you need and then leave it up to you to call when you see a problem or need a treatment. At Austin Tree Experts we know you probably aren't able to identify early signs of tree stress and that you may get busy and forget to call in when it's time for a treatment. That's why we take the initiative to set up a regimen that puts us on your property looking at your trees when they need it.


Inspections — Our healthy tree program includes several scheduled inspection visits. Analyzing a tree's condition at different times of the year gives us different insight into the health of the tree. And, some insects and disease problems show themselves at particular times. The inspections are done independently from treatments by our dedicated tree health care manager.

Treatments — Our program is anchored by four regular treatments: winter bud treatment, spring foliar fertilization, summer stress treatment and fall deep root feeding. Scroll down to the "Schedule" section for details on individual treatments.

Insect and Disease Control — We also include any insect and disease control as needed.* The need for these treatments are unpredictable from year to year. As a whole, less than eight percent of our customer base will need a special treatment outside of our normal services. To us, it just makes sense for our programs to be all inclusive. That way we know your trees always get what they need.

*must be an active customer for minimum of two years to include free oak wilt treatments.

Soil Aeration — One of the treatment application techniques we use is "deep-root" injection. This system makes use of a needle that we insert into the ground to pump the liquid treatments into the soil. This needle leaves 1 inch diameter holes in the soil everywhere we apply the treatment. Deep-root applications are typically done in a grid pattern below the trees' drip line where an injection point is made every 18"-24" depending on specific site and tree characteristics.

Not Included

Tree pruning and air-spade work are not included. These services are not needed on a regular, predictable basis. Any pruning or air-spade services are estimated separately on a per project basis as needed.

Our treatment programs should be viewed as a compliment to pruning. A good tree care program will usually reduce pruning needs. One of the main targets of tree pruning is dead limb removal. It's very normal that every couple of years new dead limbs appear. Engaging in a treatment regimen will improve the health of your tree and slow down the appearance of new dead limbs.


Pre-Spring Bud Treatment

February 1 — March 10
Starting in February, buds for the new foliage begin to get ready for the upcoming new leaf growth. This treatment is specialized to improve bud development for the tree's new foliage for the year. We don't always apply the same products for this treatment from tree to tree; it is adjusted based on the tree's needs.

Spring Foliar Fertilization

March 22 — April 13
New foliage for most native trees expand in late March through April. This new leaf expansion is very critical. If new leaves don't come out properly, the tree will be left with a poor canopy for the remainder of the year. Treatment consists of humic acid, micronutrients, vitamins and growth hormones sprayed into the canopy directly onto the foliage.

Summer Stress Treatment

June 7 — August 7
Hot dry summers are stressful for trees. Most native trees that are otherwise healthy cope with summers well. But, stressed and non-native trees struggle greatly. During early summer we apply a soil treatment of humic acid and mycorrhizae. Humic acid improves soil structure and improves water penetration into the soil. Mycorrhizae is a fungus that grows on the existing roots of the tree and then shares what it absorbs with the tree.

Fall Deep Root Fertilization

September 22 — December 20
Sixty to seventy percent of trees' root growth for the year takes place in the fall. A root feeding at this time will bolster root growth. This is the only time we apply conventional fertilizer (See "health vs. growth" tab for more). Root growth is what we need to really encourage healthy trees.


If you sign up for a tree care program, our expectation is that we are responsible for your trees' health. Although we cannot guarantee the survival of every tree, we can promise to contact you when it's appropriate so your trees always receive the best care possible. Here are some important things to know.
  1. 99 percent of the time, sick trees take a long time to completely recover. Expect to engage a program 1-3 years minimum to see visual improvements of canopy condition.

  2. Expect the unexpected. Most insect and disease infestations are opportunistic. If your tree's health is down, it is likely to attract future problems.

  3. 99 percent of the time, we will include treatment for random occurances of insects and disease as they pop up for no additional charge.

You might ask, how can we include treatments for unexpected problems at no charge? Only about 10 percent of our total customer base is going to experience one of these problems, on average. So, to us, the cost for these treatments is small potatoes in comparison to the importance of keeping our customers' trees healthy. Mostly, we want to avoid this scenario: we find a problem, quote you a price to treat it, and your tree dies because you were on vacation and didn't give us an approval in time.

Health vs Growth

Tree Health and growth rate are two very different things that often get confused by amateur gardeners. You can have an unhealthy tree that is growing and you can have a healthy tree with a slow growth rate.

Tree Health

A tree with good health is a tree with appropriate size foliage with dark green color and a functioning root system. What we're really considering is whether the tree is producing enough sugars to support its normal processes. There are a few things we look for to get insight into a tree's health: density of foliage, location of dead limbs, size and color of foliage and presence of inscts or diseases.

Tree Growth

Growth is specifically referring to an increase in tree size. Typically, improving growth rate is only an important thing under a few circumstances. Growing newly planted trees, generating new foliage for declining trees and increasing root growth for all trees. Most trees on our programs don't receive treatments to increase foliage growth. The treatments are geared more toward health.

Treatment Impacts

A conventional fertilizer is made up of nitrogen, phosphorus and/or potassium. These are also referred to as macro-nutrients. These are the nutrients that have shown to have the most impact on plant growth. Therefore, when you apply a fertilizer, you are stimulating growth and not necessarily health. Only one of our many tree treatments contains a significant volume of conventional macro-nutrient fertilizer: the fall root feeding. The two products we use the most are humic acid and a balanced mix of growth hormones. We have found that applying a conventional fertilizer in the fall when most root growth takes place, combined with humic acid/hormone treatments in the spring when foliage is developing is the best combination for improving tree health. If an increase in growth rate is desired, we apply some additional conventional fertilizer in the spring when the trees are growing.

Organic Options

organic tree care There are organic options for tree care available. The best alternative to our standard programs is to restructure the soil by incorporating organic matter into the soil with an air-spade.

Special Note About Our Standard Programs

We believe that our programs are very environmentally friendly. For example, a standard recommendation for use of fertilizers on turf is to apply 1-3 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. In our program, for an average mature tree we aim to apply approximately 1/4 lb of nitrogen throughout the entire drip line. By timing our applications appropriately and using high quality products, we are able to greatly reduce fertilizer application rates and still achieve exceptional results. The other factor that comes into play is the use of pesticides to control insect and disease. If you do not want these products applied to your property please let us know and we will gladly grant your wish. However, it is noteworthy to point our that we do not include pesticide treatments as a standard part of any of our programmed treatments. They are only used when needed, and we would never use one without notifying you before hand.