WHEN TO FERTILIZE A TREE?
The best time to fertilize a tree is in spring with the next best time being late fall. Trees are actively absorbing nutrients and moving sap through their trunk during the spring. The tree will perform better if the nutrition it needs is in the soil. We do recommend a soil test so you will know what your soil is lacking. Be sure to mark down the type of tree before sending your test off so you can get proper recommendations on what should be added to benefit your tree to most.
how often to fertilize a tree ?
Smaller and younger trees can be fertilized every year. Normally older large trees only need to be fertilized every two years. They typically do not need to be fertilized more than that unless they show signs of damage. Damage would usually be caused by insects, fungus or a severe drought in previous years. If you are currently in a drought, please do not try to fertilize your tree back to health. If the tree needs water, fertilizer will actually cause your tree to get worse. Think about what would happen to a human who was severely dehydrated and ate to cure their dehydration.
HOW TO FERTILIZE A TREE?
First we need to discuss where the fertilizer is going to go. This may seem like common sense, but this is an area where most people mess up. On a large tree, the area from two to three feet from the trunk of the tree to one to two feet past the drip line is the place you want to apply fertilizer. On a small to medium tree, stick to the whole area from two inches from the trunk to the drip line. The drip line would be the place on the ground the water would drip from the tips of the branches furthest away from the tree trunk.
WHAT TYPE OF TREE FERTILIZER
Organic fertilizers and amendments are naturally occurring Examples are peat moss, compost, saw dust, bone meal, manure. These will not only increase the nutrients in the soil, but will help reduce compaction and allow water to be held better. These fertilize the soil as they decompose so it is less of an immediate effect. The good news is they will be there for a while so your tree will continue to benefit from them for much longer than alternatives. They also contain less salts than inorganic produced fertilizers.
Inorganic fertilizers are cheap and scientific so you know exactly what you are getting. These are the most widely used for tree fertilization and get the job done.
Three things we recommend are nitrogen, mychorrihizal fungi drench, and a systemic insecticide labeled for your tree. Aside from that, you should rely on the soil test results. Be sure to retest the soil near your tree every four to six years to see how you need to adjust your fertilization plan.
*If your tree has a fungus problem, treat the fungus before fertilizing as fungus will thrive on nitrogen.
If you live in the Greater Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans or anywhere in Southeast Louisiana, please feel free to call us at 225.752.2333 and have us help you in person.
This is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It reduces soil compaction and thatch by removing small plugs of small plugs of soil throughout your yard. This allows more movement of air, water, beneficial insects and microbes.
When to aerate your lawn
You should core aerate in early spring, shortly after your warm season grass begins to green up. In the spring, be sure to irrigate your yard for the next week to ensure it does not dry out. The other time to do this is in the fall after it has started to cool down some. I do not recommend doing this in the middle of summer since grass can get stressed due to the extreme heat and lack of rain.
How to aerate your lawn
You can rent a machine to do this from nearly any rental store. If you have a large piece of property, there is a version you can drag behind a tractor or four wheeler. Do not use a tine aerator or spiked shoes, they actually compact the soil more. This can be a pretty physical task, so if you may want to look into hiring someone if this seem a bit much for you.
Use the machine in the same pattern as you would to mow your lawn. Make three to five passes in spring but only one to two passes if aerating during the fall. If you are aerating soil that is mostly clay, you will want to use a rake to remove as many of the plugs as you can. Other soil types are fine to leave on the lawn. The aeration cores left on your lawn will go away on their own when it rains or your water your lawn.
Why top dress
What soil to add
How to top dress
Top dressing is pretty simple. Get soil, throw soil, repeat, rake when finished. Below are a few ways to get this done.
The Hard Way
Wheelbarrow, a shovel and a rake. Simply move it to the area you want to spread it and use the shovel to fan it out. Estimate it will take around three pounds of top dressing per square yard. Keep the added soil to an added level of 1/4" to 1/3" inch. Much more than this and you will run the risk of killing some of your existing grass. When you are finished, you will need to use a rake to remove the soil that is resting on top of the grass itself. As you may notice, this will take a lot of time and Tylenol. The average size yard will take one person two or more days to finish.
The Better Way
If you can find one, rent a top dressing machine. While you still have to load the machine and rake the remaining loose soil, it will make this project unbelievable easier. The flaw in this plan is these are hard to find since most people do not do this to their yard.
The Easy Way
Hire a lawn company specializing in top dressing to do it. While this option is more expensive, it will save your weekend plus the days of recovery afterwards.
If your yard is healthy and full, don't worry about overseeding. Keep good cultural practices and doing what you were doing to keep it healthy in the first place. If your lawn is starting to thin or if there are other grasses growing, overseeding will help with both.
When to overseed
The best time to overseed is during the growing season for the seed you are putting down. For us this is between spring when temperatures are above 68 degrees and the early summer. You can still overseed in the middle of summer, but the grass will have less time to establish before winter and it will take more water due to the excessive heat. There is some debate on whether to overseed before or after top dressing. I tend to favor doing it after since there is a rick of burying it too deep if you overseed before top dressing.
Overseeding in spring and summer
Bermuda - Great for overseeding
Zoysia - Great for overseeding
Centipede - Only do this is there are are bare spots throughout your yard.
St. Augustine - Do not bother overseeding. If you have bare spots, use sod.
Overseeding in fall and winter
For all types of grasses, use a low growing rye grass to overseed your lawn in late fall. It will keep your lawn green all winter and will die off when it gets warm in spring.
How to overseed
You can overseed using a push spreader. Simply fill up the spreader, use the settings on the bag and keep a constant pace. Be cautious of where you spread the seeds (your flower beds) since grass will grow there.
JUST ADD WATER
Water your lawn immediately after and try to get a good five inches of water penetration into the soil. You will need to keep your lawn irrigated daily for the next half of a month to make sure the seeds germinate.
If you live in the Greater Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans or anywhere in Southeast Louisiana, please feel free to call us at 225.752.2333
I am predicting we will have a very large and active mosquito population soon due to the mild winter Louisiana is having... again. Aside from being incredibly annoying, mosquitoes do transmit a number of illness to both humans and pets. I believe the best option for mosquito control at your home is a professionally installed mosquito misting system and here is why.
Unlike most of the other options out there for mosquito control, a misting system is proven to work in getting rid of the pesky bugs from your backyard. A correctly designed system will target areas where mosquitoes stay and keep them off of your family and pets. The product used will also knock down most other flying insects as well.
The product used is less toxic to humans than insect repellent you spray on your skin when camping. It is derived from Chrysanthemum flowers. It also only sprays a few seconds two to three times a day. The times it goes off are dawn and dusk which is the most active time for mosquitoes.
Misting systems are automatic. When you are having a backyard barbecue, mosquitoes will be one less thing you have to worry about. There is no hassle about setting up, replacing or refilling every time you go outside. A technician comes out a few times a year and services the system usually checking for anything that is malfunctioning and refills your tank for you.
OUT OF SIGHT
Except for the few seconds they spray a day, you would hard pressed to notice the nozzles. The nozzles are usually attached to trees, fences or hidden under the eves of your roof. There is a tank that holds with a control box, but it is placed in an area of your yard that isn't frequently seen or visited. This would usually be behind a fence or on the side of the home.
If you live in the Greater Baton Rouge, Greater New Orleans or anywhere in Southeast Louisiana, please feel free to call us at 225.752.2333 and have us help you in person