Tree Fertilizer - Knowledgebase Question

San Marcos, Ca
Avatar for jkennedy76
Question by jkennedy76
June 30, 2010
I planted a purple-plum leaf tree about 2 months ago, and was told to come back and get a fertilizer for it. What type should I buy? Is the Miracle Grow fertilizer I have at home good enough, or does it require something specific?


Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorus helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus, such as Miracle-Gro's Plant Food at 15-30-15. However, the Miracle-Gro is fine for your tree if you want to use what you have on hand, although you may be able to purchase a less expensive, generic "tree and shrub" fertilizer, if that's important. Also, Organic sources of nutrients are:

Nitrogen: alfalfa meal, blood meal, coffee grounds, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, seabird guano.
Phosphorus: bone meal, rock phosphate
Potassium: greensand, seaweed, kelp

Hope this helps!

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