A Tree's Rhizosphere and Canopy

A Tree’s Rhizosphere and Canopy

Winter storms, salt damage, poor soil, stress, slow growth, poor planting – there are dozens of reasons why we recommend a spring fertilization for your trees and woody ornamentals this year! We like spring feedings because they come at a natural point in the life-cycle of trees when they are putting out new feeder roots. This year, salt incursion from Super Storm Sandy has damaged the soil’s environmental biology. Using amendments such as Sanctuary and PHC BioPack Plus, we can add soil microbes and micro-nutrients to the root zone (rhizosphere) to help repair the soil and improve root health.

As they come out of dormancy, trees put out untold numbers of very fine roots in the upper layer of soil to collect nutrients, minerals and water in order to generate new leaves and needles in their canopies. Once the trees are fully out of dormancy and the leaves and needles are using photosynthesis to create carbohydrates, this root zone becomes the tree’s “battery”, allowing it to store energy in order to fight off stress and survive into future seasons.

In cases where the trees have been damaged by salt, wind, or other factors, it becomes necessary for us to add to the reservoir of materials because of increased demand. This is particularly true of areas like Long Island, where the soil composition is primarily sand, with little organic material. Normally, soil insects, nematodes, micro-arthropods and soil microbes all help to break down organic material in soil so it becomes available to the feeder roots. Salt incursion can damage this system by wiping out a lot of the microbial population. By replacing microbes in the soil with organic fertilizer and bio-stimulant applications, we can re-activate the soil ecology and help out the roots. We can also use mycorhizzal inoculants to help replace mycorhizzae fungi which allow the roots to take up water.

Organically based fertilizers are the way to go in a sandy environment like Long Island. At Fox Tree, we refuse to use chemically based fertilizers like 20-20-20 because they tend to change the soil pH and may also add salt. Most of these are geared towards turf and not trees, anyway. Organic fertilizers break down more slowly (which tree roots like) and stick around longer. They also add organic material to the root zone.

Call Fox Tree today and we can have an arborist take a look at your trees and set up a spring fertilization program.