Fertilize red bud tree

Asked July 19, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

When is the best time to fertilize a red bud tree? Can I do it now (late July). How much fertilizer should I apply? Is there a publication that covers this topic? Thanks.

Fayette County Kentucky

1 Response

Woody trees and shrubs should not be fertilized in summer, especially late summer. Applications of nitrogen at this time may stimulate new growth and make the plants less hardy going into autumn. It is best to wait until the trees become dormant--look for foliage coloring and leaf drop in autumn which will signal it is okay to fertilize. Fertilization can also occur in winter as long as soils are not frozen. Many woody plants in the landscape receive adequate fertilizer when lawns are fertilized in the fall (wait until trees are dormant to fertilizer nearby lawns). Generally one to two application of a lawn-type fertilizer spread according to label directions will be enough fertilizer for established trees. Each application is generally equivalent to 0.8 to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet of soil surface area. More information about landscape fertilization can be found in this publication from the University of Kentucky: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id72/id72.pdf.