Feeding Trees, Shrubs & Ornamentals

Since they’re so low-maintenance, it is easy to forget that trees and shrubs need care, too. In addition to light and water, they need a regular diet of minerals and other elements. You can ensure that your trees and shrubs grow large and stay healthy and beautiful with a regular feeding program.

Some types of trees and shrubs need regular feedings of specialty plant foods in order to maximize results. For example, Water Rhododendron Plant Food provides a unique 30-10-10 formulation with trace elements for acid-loving shrubs, such as rhododendrons.

Generally, shrubs demand little fertilizer compared to the amount required by lawns or vegetables. Light applications of fertilizer at regular intervals greatly increase growth and stimulate flower production. For evergreen shrubs, there are specialty plant foods, such as Evergreen, Shrub & Tree Food, to keep them growing healthy and strong.

An easy way to feed most of the trees and shrubs in your yard is with  Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spikes, which come in three different varieties, each formulated to meet the needs of specific trees and shrubs.

Select A Plant Food

When planting and nurturing a new tree or shrub, you may want to use a water-soluble plant food to help it thrive in its new home. Once established, most trees and shrubs thrive with the application of a controlled-release plant food.

Water-Soluble Plant Food

  • Mix with water to apply (with a garden hose  or a watering can)
  • Easy to control amount and frequency of feeding
  • Feeds through plants foliage and roots
  • Fast results

Fertilizer Spikes

  • Give younger trees a healthy start
  • Promote lush beautiful foliage and enhanced fruit production
  • Supply nutrients directly to the roots

Granular Plant Food

  • Ready-to-use, granular form
  • No need to water in
  • Spread around trees and shrubs
  • Quick greening plus long-lasting feeding for up to 2 months

Slow-Release Plant Food

  • Slow release formula feeds up to several months
  • Feed only once or twice a season

When to Feed

In most cases, you should feed trees and shrubs in the early spring. However, you should feed spring-flowering shrubs and trees again after blooming to encourage better blooming next spring. Acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons and azaleas thrive when fed with Water Soluble Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron Plant Food every 7–14 days.

In most soils, mature trees need little or no feeding as long as they have good leaf color and grow reasonably well. If additional nutrients are needed to maintain health and vigor, choose a fertilizer that is 50 percent nitrogen in slow-release form. Because nitrogen is transient, apply the necessary amount in spring and in the fall. Keep the fertilizer at least 6 inches away from the trunk to avoid injuring the tree. After application, sprinkle the area with water to wash the fertilizer into the soil.

Fruit trees do have slightly different needs. Although one or two feedings are often recommended, we suggest feeding equal amounts of fertilizers four times at evenly spaced intervals between early spring and late June. Keep fertilizers away from the trunks of trees and shrubs and water very deeply after feeding.

How Much to Feed

Let the trees be your guide. If leaf color is pale, increase the rate. If growth is excessive on young trees, cut back the amount of fertilizer used or stop fertilizing altogether. As trees mature, fertilizer is seldom, if ever, needed.