The Q&A Archives: Damaged Trees

Question: What would be the best fertilizer to use on maple trees and crape myrtle trees? These trees were damaged last fall by the hurricane and we straightened them up and tied them down. They appear to be starting to bud now. Is there anything else we can do to help them along?

Answer: Straightening and temporarily staking your trees immediately after they sustained damage was a good first step in helping them mend. Along with wind, hurricanes generally bring an abundance of rain, and soaked soil would have allowed the roots to pull away with less damage than if the soil were bone-dry. A third good sign is that they are budding out. Fertilize lightly with a time-release fertilizer such as an 8-16-16. (Apply according to label directions, broadcasting over the root area and watering in well.) Water your trees regularly throughout the growing season and they should rebound. If you tied them to stakes to help keep them standing straight, be sure to inspect the ties frequently to make sure they're not digging into the bark. With the TLC you've provided your trees should recover from their ordeal with little permanent damage.

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