Apr 022014



Fertilization is one of the most important, but one of the most ill applied practices in all of arbor care. All too often, people will buy a generic  fertilizer of some kind, and apply it to their trees, without any real investigation of that fertilizer, what is in it, and how it works. The soil in which your tree lives, is one of the most crucial elements to consider when implementing proper plant health management. Soil types are not the same wherever you go. Structures differ, PH levels vary greatly from region to region, and other factors come into play when dealing with soil. If this is the case, it stands to reason that the same fertilizer couldn’t be equally effective in all parts of the country. However, many people here in Phoenix do apply the same exact fertilizer as they do in Ohio, as they do in Florida, and as they do in California. Most fertilizers are man made and are salt based, and are very often broadcast type, that is they are granular and are spread on top of the soil.  Why would you want to add a salty fertilizer to the already highly alkaline soil here in the valley? The answer is, you wouldn’t.


Design Tree Maintenance subscribes to an organic approach when it comes to properly feeding your trees. We incorporate a technique known as deep root feeding, a very common practice, particularly prevalent in the Phoenix area, which injects a liquid fertilizer into the root zone by means of hydraulic pressure. It is applied around, up to, and sometimes beyond the drip line of the tree, just inches below the surface, where the majority of the feeder roots will be, which will uptake the liquid. All essential nutrients for the tree are included in our fertilizer. While the actual nutrients themselves are very important to the feeding of your trees, equally important is the biological activity that needs to take place in order for them to uptake the nutrients. The science behind the entire process is actually quite complex and even amazing. However, in simple terms, the fertilizer injected is full of nutrients, and beneficial bacteria, fungi, and enzymes, that all work together to create great microbial activity in the soil to maximize uptake, and health of your trees. It is very difficult to change the actual structure of a soil, however, you can change it’s biological activity. Also ask our arborists about organic composting methods, an excellent compliment to our deep root feeding program.

Micro injections


Micro injections are capsules that are injected into the base of the trunk of a tree. These capsules may contain anything from simple nutrients to fungicides. The use of micro injections is usually reserved for when all other options to help a tree have been exhausted. The liquid from the capsule is injected directly into the tree’s system, bypassing the roots. It is basically used as a “ quick fix “ to sustain the tree, while the underlying problem is addressed. This method is widely used on queen palms  in the valley due to their prevalent manganese deficiency. However, it is important to be cautious when arriving at a decision to use this method, especially with queen palms. The reason is that the hole created by the drill to inject this liquid, leaves an open wound on the tree, which may invite certain pathogens and pests. Queen palms particularly can be harmed because they are not actually trees, but more closely related to the grass family and therefore lack the ability to close or compartmentalize their wounds. For this reason, you should beware of companies that advertise, or try to sell this method as part of a regular feeding program. It should be reserved for certain circumstances, and applied by a qualified arborist.