8 Best Fertilizer For Trees And Shrubs and How to Use Them

Having healthy trees and shrubs is necessary if you want a gorgeous, vibrant, and green-colored garden. The natural beauty that these two plantations provide allows your landscape to have an appealing personality that’s filled with greenery, shade, and other ecological benefits. However, while trees and shrubs can grow in good soil, adequate water, and sunlight, they require an extra push to thrive properly. You can provide this push to them via the best fertilizer for trees and shrubs.

High-quality fertilizers for trees and shrubs help give them proper growth by promoting good health. A low-quality fertilizer will harm your plants. So if you want the best fertilizer for your trees and shrubs, then keep on reading and learn all about them.


  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Made with healthy and natural ingredients
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • A little goes a long way
  • Economical since it is concentrated
  • It doesn't have any smell to it
  • Pre-measured spike makes it easy to use
  • Smell and hazard-free fertilizer
  • Is a budget-friendly fertilizer

8 Best Fertilizer For Trees And Shrubs

There are many types of fertilizers for trees and shrubs present in the market. When it comes to tree and shrub fertilization, no single formulation is ideal for every situation. Some people prefer to use a general fertilizer for trees and shrubs. These can be used indoors on plants and outdoors on shrubs and trees.

However, some gardeners need specific fertilizers designed for a single purpose, such as a fertilizer for trees and shrubs purely.

So with this in mind, we have handpicked the top 8 fertilizers for trees and shrubs present in the market. We picked these in terms of their performance, reviews, and ease of use. Keep on reading and learn all about them below.

1. Humboldts Secret Golden Tree – Top Pick 

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It also increases the quality and yield, helps rejuvenate dead plants, provides pathogen defense, and offers nitrogen assimilation.

While this fertilizer may seem expensive to a first-time buyer, it is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Only 2 ounces can last you an entire season, making it worth buying. So depending on your plantation, you can pick the size most suited to you.

Weight: 1 Gallon to 4 lbs (you can choose)

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Chemical

Slow Or Quick Release: Slow Release

Golden Tree by Humboldts is an excellent fertilizer for trees and shrubs and can make them grow faster and healthier. This fertilizer will make your plants not only mature better but in a luscious manner. This way, your garden will look complete, and your plants will be happy.


  • Helps in the revival of dead and dying plants.
  • A little goes a long way.
  • Economical since it is concentrated.
  • Assist in making your plant more healthy.
  • It doesn’t have any smell to it.

2. Miracle-Gro Shake’ N Feed Fertilizer – Best User-Friendly Pick

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This fertilizer is very user-friendly and can be used on all types of plants such as trees, shrubs, and even flowers. You can use it indoors and outdoors, too; all you need to do is shake this fertilizer over the soil and rake it in.

The excellent formulation of this product makes it an all-purpose fertilizer for trees and shrubs. Some of the natural ingredients present in this fertilizer include feather meal, kelp, earthworm castings, and bone meal. Furthermore, with these natural ingredients, your plants can maintain their lush green color and bloom in a healthy manner throughout the season.

Weight: 8 lbs

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Natural

Slow Or Quick Release: Slow Release

This fertilizer aims to keep your plants thriving all year round, making it an ideal product for trees and shrubs. Its easy-to-use ability and healthy nutrients keep your plants green and healthy. Since it can be used on both potted plants and containers, this fertilizer is a must-buy.


  • Great for flowering trees, shrubs, and even ferns.
  • Incredibly easy to use.
  • Made with healthy and natural ingredients.
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors.

3. Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes For Trees And Shrubs – Best Safest Fertilizer

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It is a slower-release fertilizer and comes in an easy-to-use design in the form of spikes. All you need to do is place the spikes wherever you want and simply push them into the ground and bury them. It will then fertilize your plants on its own.

Moreover, since the spikes are slow-release, this fertilizer is perfect for young trees and also new plantations. If you bury the spikes in the early spring, then the spikes will last all season long and save you time and money both. This fertilizer contains N-P-K 15-3-3, which is very beneficial for green and leafy foliage and nourishes the growth of your plants with healthy nutrients.

Weight: 3.68 Ounces

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Chemical

Slow Or Quick Release: Slow Release

Jobe’s fertilizer for trees and shrubs comes pre-measured and saves you the hassle of mixing and measuring your fertilizer. Depending on your plants, you can use two or three spikes and simply bury them in the soul, and it will release the vital nutrients on its own. Also, this fertilizer is mess-free, hazard-free, and has no smell whatsoever, making it a great purchase to make.


  • Pre-measured spike makes it easy to use.
  • Has a slow-release formula that can last all season long.
  • Smell and hazard-free fertilizer.
  • Is a budget-friendly fertilizer.

4. BioAdvanced Tree And Shrub Fertilizer – Best Multi-Purpose Fertilizer 

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This fertilizer is a slow-release type with a dual-action formula that revitalizes your plants and kills pesky insects. It is a fertilizer plus an insecticide and can target insects and pests, including caterpillars, Japanese beetles, leafminers, adelgids, aphids, and more.

With a single application, all insects and pests will stay away from your trees and shrubs for over 12 months. Furthermore, BioAdvanced fertilizer offers you systemic protection and protects your outdoor and potted plants. It is excellent for mature plants that are prone to attacks by pests and have less nutritional needs. Also, since this fertilizer gets absorbed into the internal root system, you do not have to worry about it being washed away by rain or irrigation.

Weight: 4 lbs

Does It Kill Insects: Yes

Chemical Or Natural: Chemical

Slow Or Quick Release: Slow Release

This dual-action fertilizer is excellent for providing your trees and shrubs with the nutrients they need. A the same time, it keeps pests away from them. It can be applied to all kinds of plants, including flowering shrubs and roses, and can be used easily. You no longer have to mix the fertilizer or spray it; simply measure the amount of fertilizer you need and sprinkle it around the base of the plant for perfect application.


  • Keeps insects and pests away for over a year.
  • Offers rainproof protection when applied.
  • Is easy to use.
  • Can kill even adult Japanese beetles.

5. Scotts Evergreen Flowering Tree & Shrub – Best Fertilizer For Acid-Loving Plants

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This fertilizer is a slow-release product with N-P-K 11-7-7, which encourages vigorous growth of roots and has a continuous-release formula. In addition, this fertilizer can feed different types of plantations. These include azaleas, camellias, evergreens, hydrangeas, magnolias, and other acid-loving plants, for around two months.

Moreover, this fertilizer ensures the foliage remains green and lush and has essential nutrients for healthy plant growth. All you need to do is apply this fertilizer as soon as the growing season starts, and you’ll get desirable results on your plants all year long. Another excellent feature of this fertilizer is that it is safe to use and doesn’t burn your trees or surrounding grass.

Weight: 3 lbs

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Chemical

Slow Or Quick Release: Slow Release

This fertilizer is easy-to-use and comes in different packs. So you can pick the pack most suited to your needs. It is a reasonably priced product, and when you opt for a three-pack option, you get a discounted price making it even more budget-friendly. The vigorous growth this fertilizer provides is all you need for a green and healthy-looking garden.


  • Safe to use.
  • Encourages the growth of roots.
  • Perfect for trees and acid-loving plants.
  • Suits a wide variety of plants.

6. Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes For Trees And Shrubs – Most Affordable Fertilizer 

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The best part about it is that it is easy to use, and all you need to do is follow the step-by-step instructions present on the pack. It is advised that you place the spikes during mid-summer, early spring, or late fall since that is when root growth is more active.

Since these spikes have a slow-release formula, they provide the plant with a continuous stream of fertilizer throughout. Consequently, over time, you will start to see visible results, which will help in keeping your garden or lawn luscious and green all the time. Furthermore, these spikes are safe for the environment since they have no smell or wasteful runoff. These spikes do their job without any mess or health hazards, making them a good purchase for garden use.

Weight: 0.26 lbs

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Chemical

Slow Or Quick Release: Slow Release

Jobe’s pre-measured fertilizer spikes are great for trees and shrubs since they nourish the roots directly. This fertilizer is easy-to-use, mess-free, hazard-free, and has no smell whatsoever. You can add the spikes to the soil in early spring and allow the nutrients to spread to the plants consistently due to its continuous release ability. Also, the product is are incredibly affordable, making it a good buy for beginners.


  • Suitable for plenty of plants.
  • Has no smell.
  • It is effortless to use.
  • Comes with step-by-step instructions.

7. Earth 708P Organic Fertilizer – Most Organic Fertilizer 

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Dr. Earth has created this fertilizer with 100% natural and organic ingredients and state-of-the-art technology. As soon as it is added to the soil, it stimulates the development of roots and provides consistent plant growth. This fertilizer also helps address other safety concerns that gardeners may have, such as keeping the grass nearby healthy and toxin-free. Dr. Earth 708P doesn’t have any chicken manure, GMOs, or sewage sludge and so you can use it without any worries.

Furthermore, this fertilizer comes in a poly-bag and contains 7 different soil microbes strains, probiotics, endo-mycorrhizae, and ectomycorrhizae. All of these ingredients are very beneficial for trees and shrubs. They tend to work together and provide your plants with a healthy growth that enhances their color and makes them more luscious.

Weight: 4 lbs.

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Natural

Slow Or Quick Release: Quick Release

This fertilizer is ideal for promoting consistent growth in trees and provides plants with healthy nutrients. Dr. Earth releases these nutrients quickly to the plant so that the trees and shrubs do not need any chemical fertilizers and have no growth spikes at all.


  • 100% organic and safe fertilizer.
  • Helps in releasing the nutrients quicker.
  • Enhances their tolerance to drought.
  • Increases the performance of plants.

8. VPG BAC421 Tree And Shrub Food – Most Concentrated Fertilizer 

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Their VPG fertilizer is also a great product and is scientifically formulated to provide trees and shrubs with vital nutrients. This fertilizer is highly concentrated, so you only need to use it twice a year. It is also easy to use, and you do not have to dig holes to place it in the soil.

This fertilizer for trees and shrubs provides them with the nourishment they need. The penetration action allows the fertilizer to move directly towards the feeder roots. This product is an all-purpose fertilizer that you can use for different trees, including palms, citrus, fruit and nuts, and even evergreens.

Weight: 20 lbs

Does It Kill Insects: No

Chemical Or Natural: Chemical

Slow Or Quick Release: Quick Release

This fertilizer has rapid performance and effective results. It starts to work as soon as it enters the soil. With this fertilizer, you get plenty of benefits, including ease of application and cost-effectiveness, making it an excellent product to get your hands on.


  • Reasonable in price.
  • Can feed plants twice a year.
  • Is an all-purpose fertilizer.
  • Has deep penetration action.

What Is The Best Tree and Shrub Fertilizer?

Now that you know about the best fertilizers for trees and shrubs, you can move forward and learn how to pick the right one. When choosing a fertilizer, you need to look out for its nutrient balance, release rate, and chemical or natural composition. While these things should be your primary focus, there are some other things to focus on as well, and you can read all about them below.

Nutrient Balance N-P-K

Nutrient Balance N-P-K

The first thing you need to look out for is nutrient balance, which is usually denoted on a fertilizer using NPK. NPK is an abbreviation, and each letter stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). For instance, if you find NPK written like this: N-P-K 11-7-4, this means that the fertilizer has 11% Nitrogen, 7% Phosphorus, and 4% Potassium.

These three nutrients are responsible for the plant’s growth. Nitrogen is used for leafy growth and healthy foliage, phosphorus is essential for root development, and potassium helps fruits and flowers bloom. So with this property, you can easily find the fertilizer and choose the one that suits your needs. To further understand which kind of plants need which formulation, take a look at these:

Arborvitae Fertilizer

Arborvitae is a quick-growing and leafy tree. It doesn’t require fertilizer to ensure its rapid growth. However, it does need fertilizer to feed the leaves and ensure their foliage remains green and healthy, and so it needs nitrogen. Also, this tree doesn’t have any showy flowers, but you can find buds and cones on them, which is why they need some potassium and phosphorus as well. So the right NPK requirement for this tree would be a fertilizer with N-P-K 13-3-4.

Hydrangea Fertilizer

On the other hand, hydrangea is more shrub-like and has a more showy look. Therefore, it needs a high amount of potassium since this nutrient helps produce fruits and flowers. Also, you need to focus on the vegetative qualities of hydrangea, which requires phosphorus and nitrogen. For this reason, the right NPK requirement when buying fertilizer for hydrangea would be 8-4-12. This will provide a good balance between beautiful flowers and leafy green foliage.

fertilizer for trees and shrubs

Soil pH

Another thing you need to look out for when buying fertilizer for trees and shrubs is the soil’s pH level. pH level refers to how acidic or alkaline the soil is. This value varies depending on the geographic location and also the different compositions of minerals. Usually, the ideal pH range of soil where all species can thrive and grow healthy is around 5.5 to 7.5 pH.

However, there are some species that tend to thrive ideally when the soil is outside this range. Some plants grow perfectly in soil with a pH of 8.0, and some grow at a pH even lower than 4.5. Since the pH level directly affects the availability of nutrients, you need to figure out which plant grows in which pH level and grow them accordingly.

Quick Release Or Slow Release

Fertilizers for trees and shrubs can either be slow-release or quick-release. The 8 fertilizers mentioned above consist of both types. If you don’t know what these terms mean, here’s a small rundown. Quick-release and slow-release simply refer to the speed of the fertilizer; how quickly it breaks down in the soil and transports the nutrients to the plant.

You can control the rate at which tree food is released into your garden and is absorbed by plants and choose a fertilizer accordingly. The form of the fertilizer plays a considerable role in determining whether it is quick release or slow-release. For example, powder form has quick-release properties, whereas spikes and granules are defined as slow-release. But what exactly is the purpose of this releasing property?

Here’s a more detailed explanation below:

Slow Release

Slow-release fertilizers are ideal for baby trees since they provide food and nutrients at a steady pace. Due to this slow pace, the young and delicate roots of the trees don’t get burned out, and they grow in a healthier manner. The easiest to use slow-release fertilizer is spikes. These fertilizers are pre-measured, and you can directly put them in the ground without risking fertilizer burn. However, when it comes to shrubs, these spikes may not be the right fit, so you should opt for granular or powder fertilizer.

Quick Release

On the other hand, quick-release tree fertilizers are ideal for mature and fully-adult trees that require a quick shot of nutrients. If you find your tree looking lackluster, having yellow leaves, or giving a dull and tired look, then quick-release fertilizer is the answer to it. Quick-release fertilizers usually come in a granulated or powder formulation. They can either be applied directly on top or by digging holes in the soil and filling it with tree food. You can even opt for liquid formula, but it is designed for regular use (usually every two days).

To decide which fertilizer is more suited for your plants, ask yourself why the tree needs it, how you want the nutrients to get delivered, and at what growth stage your tree or shrub is. This will help you in picking between quick-release fertilizer and slow-release fertilizer.

Chemical Or Natural Fertilizer

Another thing that most people find confusing is which type of fertilizer for trees and shrubs to choose. There are two types of fertilizers for trees and shrubs present today, natural or organic and chemical or mineral. Now mineral fertilizers are made with processed chemicals and provide your plants with an adequate quantity of desired nutritions. On the other hand, organic or natural fertilizers are created using natural sources such as plant residue, animal manure, etc. They don’t provide the same nutrition as chemical ones but do not have any chemical processing.

You can find both natural and chemical fertilizer in the form of granular, spikes, or liquid, depending on which form you are most comfortable with. However, many people do not know whether their trees and shrubs will prefer natural fertilizer or a chemical one. So keep on reading and learn more about these two below.

Organic Fertilizer

Organic tree fertilizer is made from plant and animal materials, and it works in a slow-release way by gently providing the nutrients to the roots of the tree. However, this fertilizer takes more time to provide you with effective results due to this slow pace.

So if you have young trees and plantations, then opting for organic fertilizer is a good idea. It will slowly release the nutrients so it won’t harm their growth and, at the same time, show you effective results as they grow.

When buying natural fertilizers, ingredients to look for include manure, bone meal, and crushed shells. Also, make sure you check the quantity on the product’s packaging and use it accordingly. Be prepared for the fertilizer to smell since it is organic. In some cases, organic fertilizers can attract wildlife as well, so keep your pesticides and insecticides ready.

Chemical Fertilizer

Mineral or chemical fertilizers have a nitrogen-based formula containing ammonium sulfate and sodium nitrate. An inorganic fertilizer designed for all-purpose use will contain a good ratio of N-P-K. This makes it a great product to use on malnourished plants and trees. Also, since manufacturers can control the ratio of NPK and make it accurate, it provides excellent results. But the downside with these fertilizers is that they are chemically driven, making them not very healthy in large quantities for the environment and plants.

User and Plant Safety

The last thing you need to look out for when buying fertilizer for trees and shrubs is whether it is safe to use. While most people tend to focus on ease of use, they forget if the fertilizer for trees and shrubs is safe or not. This can be very damaging to their garden.

If you are buying an organic fertilizer that is 100% natural, you do not have to worry about its safety. However, if you are opting for a chemical fertilizer for trees and shrubs, you need to make sure that it is hazard-free.

If the chemical fertilizer is not safe, it can be harmful to the surrounding plants, along with pets and kids. Unsafe fertilizers can damage the entire area around the trees and make the grass turn yellow. Also, they can be very damaging to the environment in large amounts due to waste production.

Furthermore, if your dog or cat likes to roam and sniff around in the garden, then inhaling the smell or getting this fertilizer in their mouth can damage their health. So make sure you check if the fertilizer is hazard-free and safe to use before you buy it.

How to Fertilize Trees and Shrubs?

Even though with the above information, you are ready and can shop for the right fertilizer for trees and shrubs, questions arise: How are you supposed to use it? When are you supposed to use it? And how many times should you use it?

If you are bothered by these questions and want to learn more about using fertilizers for trees and shrubs, then you have come to the right place. Read on below to get an in-depth answer to these questions and put all your worries aside.

When it comes to fertilizing trees and shrubs, the main aim is to put the nutrients in a place where they can easily get absorbed by the roots. So it is essential that you feed the roots of the trees by distributing the fertilizer above them to achieve a yielding effect. The most effective and most straightforward method for fertilizing is to spread the granule evenly over the root. You can also place a spike at a distance of 2ft from the tree. Furthermore, you can arrange the spikes around the tree in a regular interval pattern for a continuous flow of nutrients for trees and shrubs.

When fertilizing, try to avoid feeding the trees if there is a heavy rainfall prediction because the water will wash away the fertilizer before it even gets absorbed. It is ideal to wait for at least two days if there is a prediction or fertilize when there is no chance of rain. If you do want to fertilize without waiting, you should use a slow-release fertilizer spike instead.

Keep on reading to learn about how you should fertilize shrubs and trees according to their age!

How to Fertilize Trees and Shrubs

New Trees

Since new trees do not need too many nutrients, slow-release organic fertilizer is best suited to their requirements. This way, they can avoid root burn. Try to opt for dry forms or granular fertilizer and steer clear from liquid fertilizer since they have quick-release abilities.

Mature Trees

When the trees are fully matured, their growth rate starts to slow down, so they do not frequently require fertilization. You can simply fertilize the trees and shrubs that are mature only once every three years, and it will be sufficient nutrition for them.

Young Trees

Young trees require more fertilization since they are still in the early growth stages. You can give them a frequent fertilizer dosage to provide them with the boost they need to grow. As a general rule, you can feed young plants twice a year. Depending on the growth stage, it can be more frequent. This much is suitable for their growth but make sure you follow the instructions and use the recommended amount.

When Should You Fertilize Trees And Shrubs?

Using the correct dose of fertilizer on your trees and shrubs is ideal for keeping them in good health. However, before you start providing them with fertilization, it is a good idea to determine when you should do it. The right timing is crucial in order to promote healthy foliage and flowering. Generally, the best time to fertilize is in spring or fall.

Spring Fertilizing

One of the best times to fertilize shrubs and trees is late April in Spring. This is when the fertilizer for trees and shrubs is able to influence growth the most. So when you fertilize in April, the fertilizer will start taking effect immediately and show results after a month or so. This is why trees and shrubs need this feeding before beginning the new growth. An early feeding period allows the fertilizer to absorb into the new growing branches and shoots. This allows them to grow into vibrant and healthy plants.

Fall Fertilizing

Another time to fertilize is in the months of October or September, which is the Fall time. During this time, the plant has a higher chance of growing than in spring. As the temperature starts to decrease to lower than forty degrees, you can use a high concentration of fertilizer so that your plants are able to resist freezing. Fertilizing during these cold months also makes trees and shrubs stronger and allows them to stay healthy and power through the cold weather.

How Many Times Should You Fertilize Trees And Shrubs?

Now that you know when to fertilize and how to do it correctly, you may wonder how many times you should fertilize trees and shrubs. It is crucial that you provide your plants with adequate fertilization for healthy growth; it shouldn’t be too much or too little. Both of these situations can lead to the death of the plants. Trees and shrubs require fertilizers depending on how old they are and what season is going on.

Younger trees and shrubs often require fertilization since they are still growing and need to be strong, whereas older trees and shrubs do not need it that much. But this also depends on whether you are using continuous-release fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer. So make sure you read the instructions present on the packaging and then use the fertilizer accordingly.

Once your plants have matured, then they won’t need fertilizing often. Only giving it fertilizer twice a year, in spring and fall, is ideal.


There you go! With the information mentioned above, you can quickly learn all you need to know about fertilizers for trees and shrubs and how to pick the best one. We have reviewed the 8 best fertilizers for trees and shrubs present in the market. We even explained how to said fertilizers and when.

So shop for the type of fertilizer you need depending on the age of your trees and shrubs and make them healthy, vibrant, and luscious-looking today!


When should you fertilize trees and shrubs?

Fertilizing trees and shrubs in early spring or fall is an ideal time. During this time, these plants start their active growth, and so they need a nutrient boost via fertilizer.

Can you use lawn fertilizer on trees and shrubs?

While you can use lawn fertilizer for trees and shrubs, not all lawn fertilizers can be used. If it is a chemical lawn fertilizer for trees and shrubs, it will have weed killer. This weed killer can damage the roots of trees and shrubs and ruin your entire plantation. However, if it is a natural fertilizer for trees and shrubs, it won’t have any herbicides and can be used safely.

Do evergreens need nitrogen?

Yes, evergreens need nitrogen and require two to four pounds per thousand feed to get good growth. On the other hand, adult evergreens only need one pound of nitrogen for every 1000 feet, once or twice a year.

Is it necessary to fertilize shrubs?

In nature, shrubs tend to survive and thrive without fertilizer because they grow in soil that is undisturbed and can receive nutrients via the recycling of organic products in the soil, such as leaves and manure. However, in urban landscapes, nutrients may not be adequate for the shrubs since the soil is disturbed, and so they will need fertilization for proper nutrients and growth.

What plants should not be fertilized?

While most plants need fertilization, there are some that should not be fertilized. Look out for plants with yellow undergrowth and plants with sensitive roots because these two types don’t need to be fertilized.

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