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Fertilizer damage?

Hi all,

I need help in solving this puzzle...
This spring we planted cidar trees all around our yard so that we have a nice green wall when they are taller. They were 10 Gallons plants, wery healthy looking. The guy who does occasional jobs for us put ~ 2feet away from them ~ large Jobs' fertilizer stiks all along the perimeter. Now all of a sudden - half of the trees are dead, look like burned out!
We couldn't figure out at first as the trees were very healthy and well watered and they grow pretty much on every soil. Now that I think of it - plants can be burned by too much of fertilizer I heard...
Does anybody have any experience with this?
The question now is - we have to re plant them. How do we know that level in the soil is gone down and when is the best time to do this?
Any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

A. Spruce
Re: Fertilizer damage?

To my knowledge, the ONLY trees that need fertilizer are bearing fruit trees, even then it's small amounts. When a forestry operation replants a clear-cut area, they do not fertilize, they just stick the tree into the ground and walk away.

To test the soil, you can get yourself a DIY soil test kit that tests N,P,K, and alkalinity. I suspect you'll find higher than normal nitrogen levels (N ) where the old trees are planted. Slightly higher than non fertilized areas will be fine, high levels will need to be addressed.

To lower nitrogen levels, you can mix sawdust into the tree holes and over time with the breakdown of the sawdust, the nitrogen will dissipate. Another option would be to change the type of tree you're planting, as there are some that thrive in nitrogen rich soils. I believe that eucalyptus is actually used to clean toxic levels of fertilizers from the soil (former fertilizer plant pollution sites, for instance ).

Another option would be to forgo the trees for a year or two and let the fertilizer naturally dissipate before replanting.

Re: Fertilizer damage?

Thanks Spruce, just what I thought....

I will try to dig out the remnants, if any, of those sticks tomorrow...

Live and lern...

Re: Fertilizer damage?

I'm not sure its the Jobes sticks. I'm trying to picture the situation. Ten gallon containers, did the branches of the trees stick out past the sides of the containers? Were the trees planted a little higher in the ground than they were in the containers? were the sticks two or more feet away from the root ball? Was the container a plastic container or a "peat pot" type?

The trees branches should have extended past the sides of the container, otherwise you got a transplanted 5 gallon tree that had just been transplanted to the ten gallon size and may not have been ready for a second transplant.

The trees should have been planted higher in the ground than in the container.

If the sticks were more than 2' away from the root ball, they should not have had any affect on the tree, but I wouldn't use them.

Those biodegradable pots can keep moisture from getting to the roots. They take way too long to degrade. The tree should be removed from them and let the pot degrade in a compost pile.

Re: Fertilizer damage?

Good points and suggestions, but let me add:

When you plant new trees, get them in the 5 gal size. Smaller and perhaps more adaptable, they always worked for me.

Cedars are wonderful trees. Too bad that you lost most of them.

Re: Fertilizer damage?

Thanks guys,
No, the trees were in plastic containers, looked wery healthy. What made me think fertilizer dammaged them - the dammage is in peculiar "striped" pattern, more or less where the sticks were planted...

Re: Fertilizer damage?

After reading your last post, it looks like the jobs are to blame.

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