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Princeton Elms

I am wondering what the spread is of this magnificent tree with a height of 100 feet. We live in the city so a tree of that size might be a bit overwhelming. My neighbor’s elm is about 50 feet in height with a spread of about 40 feet.

I also have a question about fertilizing in general.

We had an arborist here a few months ago when we were plagued by tent caterpillars and he focused a lot of his attention on our sugar maple which is the only mature tree in the yard (not near or on the border). He recommended fertilizing it and “fluffing it out” to show the architecture of the tree more. I’m pretty sure that the maple groves here in Vermont aren’t fertilized and they seem to do just fine. This tree is about 20-25 years old.

I would be interested in your thoughts about fertilizing trees in general but most especially about young trees as we have planted a number of them near our property border in the last 3 years. We have one white and one pink dogwood, a clump of white birch, a redbud, and added a yoshino cherry this year. The pink dogwood seemed to struggle for the first three summers but when I fertilized it this spring (a single Miracle Grow spike two feet from the trunk), it grew like crazy this year. We planted the redbud the same year and it has been busy growing since it went into the ground – it is a beautiful tree. The white dogwood and clump of birches are behaving similar to the pink dogwood – still trying to settle in and not much growth even with the fertilizer.

Is it just that they need that kind of time to settle in? The pink dogwood has put out 18-20 inch branches this year and I have spent the last three years wondering about the wisdom of having planted it since it had virtually no growth prior to this year. Did it just need time to settle in or was it the fertilizer?

I am also wondering about fertilizing shrubs in the same way. We have planted barberry around the border (Burgundy) and the ones we planted 3 years ago seemed to take off just this year. I fertilized them all this spring and pruned them (the tips) so I don’t really know what was the factor in the growth this year.

I have two hydrangeas that I planted two years ago. One is a lovely mop head which has never been fertilized and has grown at least five time its size since I planted it. The other is either a cardinal or sheckenburg(spelling?) It had two tags on it when I bought it. It only comes back from the roots each spring. I relocated it this year to a shadier location when it kept wilting in the late morning sun. It seems happier now (not wilting) but hasn’t had a bloom since I purchased it.

I would appreciate your thoughts on fertilizing. Thanks. Wende


First the elm tree question: The spread of the elm over time will get the same width as the height of the tree.

Fertilizing existing trees: You might consider using a tree fertilize stake made by the company Jobe. Usually found at most garden centers. Yes, even large trees need fertilize in a landscape setting. Mainly because of all the different things we do to the soil around them. Trees get most of their nourishment from the first 10 inches of soil and if they are competing with grass and other plants they never get the fertilize they need.

Hope this helps. Kind Regards Steve Jones

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