Why aren’t my trees growing? Could it need better mulching, correct watering habits, or some other form of proper tree care? As a leading independent tree service and landscaping company, our certified arborist in Fort Myers is well-equipped to answer this question and anything else property owners want to know.
In this post, the Island Tree Service tree care specialists will outline three possible reasons poor tree growth. We will also offer a few tried and tested tips about proper care for your trees.
How Old Is Your Tree?
The average lifespan of a tree species plays a significant role in its ability to grow new branches, leaves, and thick bark tissues. As trees age, their immune systems weaken, and they become susceptible to moisture circulation issues, pest infestations, and attacks from fungal sources.
Live oak, cypress, and pine are three of the most prevalent tree species in Fort Myers and other areas in Florida. Live oaks have an average lifespan of 250 to 400 years, but growth stagnates around 75 years. Bald cypress trees only grow 24 inches annually but can reach up to 80 feet while living for a thousand years or more.
Are you buying a residential or commercial property in the area? Be sure to inquire about the age of the trees in the front and back yards before you plan around your landscaping goals.
Are You Overwatering the Tree?
Young trees need more water than established trees, and overwatering older trees could even stunt their growth rate. Research from Sacramento Tree Foundation reveals that most trees below two years old need an average of two buckets of water delivered once a week. In comparison, trees older than three years only require watering once a month during dry seasons.
In Fort Myers, you also need to balance watering carefully during cold snaps, droughts, and torrential rainfall during early spring because excess water could drown young seedlings. The watering schedule will depend on the tree type and planting environment, but a good rule of thumb is not to add water if the soil around your tree’s base feels moist. Most trees require about 10 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
Does Your Tree Need Additional Nutrition?
Trees source their food from nutrition and decaying matter in the soil. In most urban environments, sanitation workers and gardeners sweep away those dry leaves and remove dying or dead plant matter, which prevents soil fertilization. So, overwatering and lack of access to nutrition are the two most common answers to the question, “Why aren’t my trees growing?”
Here are a few signs your trees need extra fertilization:
- Smaller leaves compared to trees from the same species
- Yellowing leaves in the summer and spring
- Stunted or leafless branches
- Infestations from a weakened immune system
The University of Massachusetts recommends using one to three pounds of fertilizer for every thousand square feet of planting area.