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How to feed pine trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Pine trees are relatively easy to feed, and they thrive when they are given an appropriate and timely fertiliser. Pines especially need fertiliser when they grow in areas where topsoil has been removed or where there is no lawn. Pine trees growing in a front yard or backyard can benefit from nutrients received when homeowners fertilise their lawns, but trees can also receive too much fertiliser. Do not fertilise your pine tree if it is growing in soil that is regularly fertilised.

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  1. Fertilise your pine trees in April, which is generally the best time to fertilise pines.

  2. Create holes beneath the tree using an aerator tool. Don't place holes closer than 12 inches from the trunks of young trees and not closer than 18 inches from the trunks of mature trees. Holes should be 4 to 12 inches deep and 2 to 3 feet apart. The holes will allow the fertiliser to reach the tree roots better.

  3. Put on a pair of rubber gloves before handling the bag of fertiliser. Partially fill a medium-size scoop or container with fertiliser and broadcast the fertiliser evenly across the ground around the tree. Begin 12 inches from the trunks of young trees and 18 inches from the trunks of mature trees and broadcast out to the edge of the branch tips, or the canopy. Apply 0.454 to 0.907kg. per 1,000 square feet of soil. Smaller trees require less fertiliser.

  4. Water the ground around the pine tree well. The water will dissolve the fertiliser and allow it to diffuse into the soil, where the roots can reach it better. Use a sprinkler to more thoroughly soak the soil.

  5. Tip

    Use a 10-10-10 or a 12-12-12 balanced formula fertiliser for optimum growth.


    Keep children and pets off fertilised soil. Do not touch fertiliser with your bare hands.

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Things You'll Need

  • 0.907kg. bag of slow-release granular fertiliser
  • Aerator tool
  • Gloves
  • Medium-size scoop or container

About the Author

Bobbie Brewer

Bobbie Brewer has been writing since 1990, with work appearing in print and online. She covers topics related to international travel, outdoor recreation, parenting and gardening. Brewer holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University, Sacramento.

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