The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing bareroot trees and shrubs

Question: When planting bare root trees or shrubs, what is the rule for fertilizing them?

Answer: Freshly planted trees and shrubs appreciate loose soil that drains well. Some recommend adding soil amendments ? organic matter such as compost or dried manure ? to the planting hole. However, the recent trend is to backfill the planting hole with the soil that was originally removed when digging the planting hole. The result will be a stronger root system.

If you wish to add fertilizer, mix it into the soil prior to planting. Use an organic type, such as bone meal or a food specifically formulated for your plant. Roots are tender at this time, so take care not to burn them with too much fertilizer.

Feeding your trees and shrubs the second year after planting will do the most good. By then the roots will be established, the plant will be actively growing and fertilizer will help it remain healthy.

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