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Feeding a new Maple Tree

Q: The landscape committee just planted a new maple tree in the front of our house. Could you give me any suggestions on feeding it, or at least trying to make sure that it will grow?

Thanks, Carol

A: Normally, I don't recommend fertilizing a new plant too soon. Fertilization may stimulate crown growth when what you want is root growth.

If the tree was planted this past spring, fall fertilization would be appropriate (roots do most of their growing in fall and early winter).

If you just planted it recently, you could probably still fertilize it this fall, but I might do it at 1/3 to 1/2 the rate on the fertilizer label this first time.

If you use a quick-release fertilizer, you will need to apply more often than if you use a slow-release formulation. Check the label and follow its instructions as to how, how much and how often.

However, whether or not the tree will thrive is more related to its quality to begin with, how well it is planted, and how properly it's watered more than fertilization, so I wouldn't place all my bets on just the fertilization.

Instead, combine all of the above for a planting success story.

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Tom Mugridge

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