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Should I Fertilize my Trees in the Winter?

Just because the seasons change and the Upstate is beginning to experience colder temperatures and in a few months, possible snow and ice, doesn’t mean you get a vacation from caring for your yard and especially your trees. In fact, now is the perfect time for tree maintenance including pruning and definitely fertilizing. 

Why fertilize during colder weather? 

When the leaves change colors and start to drop, trees begin their migration into dormancy. While some experts recommend applying a slow release fertilizer around the end of November, others agree anytime between when the tree starts to go dormant up until the ground freezes is safe. It’s important to remember when a tree is dormant, only above ground growth stops; underground the roots are still very active and working hard to absorb the added nutrients into the tree’s root system.

Fertilizing during the colder months just makes sense

  1. You don’t have to worry about leaf burn. As the weather changes water and nutrients are no longer made available to the leaves since they are dying off and in the process of dropping. This allows the tree to send all those supplements to the root mass which in turn encourages the tree to store food for the new spring growth. And because the root system is awake and active it welcomes the added nutritional value. 
  2. Feeding the roots during the colder months gives the tree an advantage when it comes to springtime growth. Fertilized trees emerge from dormancy faster and grow quicker than their unfertilized counterparts. 
  3. Trees that have been fertilized have better water absorption. The roots become stronger, allowing them to take in and retain more water.

Growing Zone Exceptions 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Greenville and Spartanburg counties  include 7A, 7B and 8A growing zones. This means there are certain areas of the Upstate where you can safely fertilize even though due to warmer winter temps, the trees many never reach full dormancy. 

Slow release fertilizer can also be used on newly planted trees. This will help the saplings become established faster and encourage strong root growth. While it is usually recommended to plant new trees during the fall months, due to our fairly warm winters, you can plant new trees from December to March without too many problems. 

Now that the trees are dropping their leaves why not give Eric a call at 864-320-8787 or email him at eric@outonalimbsc.com and schedule an appointment with Out on a Limb Tree Service to have your trees inspected before the inclement winter weather. A professional tree inspection can potentially keep you from facing future property damage. Also, it’s a great idea to put Eric’s number in your phone as your emergency 24/7/365 storm cleanup contact. Out on a Limb Tree Service taking care of the Upstate’s trees, one branch at a time. 

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