American Tree Experts

Expert Techniques To Improve Soil Quality For Trees

how to improve soil quality for trees

Learn from the masters – Expert techniques to improve soil quality for trees!

Maintenance of an optimal growth environment is essential to help trees thrive. Along with water and sunlight, soil quality plays a crucial role in determining the growth and health of trees. Soil quality can significantly affect the health and vitality of trees and plants on your property. This article highlights expert techniques to improve soil quality for trees.

Get A Soil Test

Start by getting a comprehensive soil test to assess nutrient levels and pH of the soil. This information will serve as a foundation for soil improvement efforts. Next, enhance soil health by adding organic matter like compost, manure, or other suitable materials to improve your trees’ nutrient delivery, aeration, and drainage.

Humus Management For Soil Health

  • The fastest way to achieve fertile soil for your landscape is by spreading humus around the trees. Humus consists of organic materials like mulch, fertilizers, plant residues, and horse manure. Proper humus management is beneficial for enhancing soil health and productivity. It maintains soil pH, temperature, tillage, and nutrient supply.

Enhancing Soil With Essential Minerals

  • In addition to organic materials, incorporate mineral substances to improve soil health significantly. The key minerals for soil improvement are:


  • Ideal for clay-rich soils, it is one of the coarsest grains in soils. Sand enhances permeability and root aeration when added to clay soils. Yellow sand adds beneficial iron compounds that serve as trace nutrients for plants. However, up to 50 liters of sand per square meter may be necessary for heavy soils.


  • Soil liming helps increase soil pH. Calcium carbonate, a slow-acting lime, should be added to sandy soils. On the other hand, quicklime acts faster and is more suitable for heavy loam and clay soils. Ash fertilization or crushed eggshells can also be added to adjust pH levels.

Clay Minerals

  • Clay minerals have fine grain size and offer a vast surface area to store water and nutrients. In addition, clay is not easily degraded by microorganisms. It helps improve the water-holding capacity of soil.

Primary Rock Flour

  • Primary rock flour is a finely ground rock valuable for soil improvement. It changes soil pH and offers slow-release nutrients and trace elements. The benefits of primary rock flour are particularly notable in organic and nutrient-poor forest soils and anemic soils.

However, the impact of primary rock flour on soil appears over time and may take up to a year and then continue to improve for several years. Thus contributing to sustained soil enrichment and improved plant health.

Mineral Fertilizer To Boost Fertility

  • As the name suggests, mineral fertilizer is purely mineral and is a valuable source of plant nutrients. It effectively increases soil fertility in the short term. However, it should not be considered a soil improver as mineral fertilization alone leads to humus depletion over time, ultimately reducing soil fertility in the long term.

Therefore, it is crucial to employ a balanced approach that combines organic matter, mineral fertilizers, and other soil improvement techniques. This helps ensure a thriving environment for optimizing plant growth and long-term soil fertility.

Signs Your Soil Lacks Nutrients

  • improve soil quality for treesStunted twig growth
  • Presence of dead branches
  • Discolored leaves during spring and summer
  • Darker leaf veins compared to leaf margins
  • Undersized leaves with limited foliage

While a tree can experience poor growth for several reasons, it is essential to discuss your tree’s situation by consulting a certified arborist to diagnose the specific issue and suggest appropriate solutions.

To correct any nutrient deficiencies or other tree issues, contact American Tree Experts Inc. We are a professional tree pruning and nutrient management company. Our experts will develop a customized tree healthcare program and look after your trees as best as possible. Call us at (973) 774-6091 today for a free quote for all your tree-related needs.

What Is Fire Blight, And How Does It Occur?

what is fire blight

Who’s at risk? Exploring the origins and spread of fire blight

While tree-care techniques and technologies have advanced, some diseases remain a pressing concern for gardeners and farmers. One of the most notorious diseases is fire blight. It is regarded as a destructive malady due to its ability to spread to the entire garden, affecting various fruit trees, shrubs, and ornamental plants. Keep reading to learn about fire blight, its causes, and prevention.

What Is Fire Blight?

  • It is a highly destructive disease affecting various plants, particularly the Rosaceae family. It is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. The infected parts of the plant appear as if they have been scorched by fire, hence the name fire blight.

The primary targets of the bacterium are fruit trees, including pear, apple, and ornamental plants such as roses and other members of the same family. It is particularly prevalent in some countries and attacks specific parts of the plants, including roots, shoots, branches, leaves,

How Does Fire Blight Occur?

  • Fire blight spreads rapidly, usually through insects, wind, or rain. The bacterium is carried by the moist air currents or insects to young green tissues of the plant. It enters the plant through natural openings, wounds, and flowers, where the bacterium multiplies within tissues, severely damaging the plant or tree.

The infected tree parts ooze a bacteria-filled honey on warm, wet days, attracting insects. Once the bacteria spreads to the woody branches, cankers develop, and bark may appear cracked or sunken. It can destroy entire gardens or orchards if left untreated.

What Are The Symptoms?

  • Fire blight can be challenging to spot for homeowners, and it can easily go unnoticed. It may resemble animal feeding or hail damage and can co-occur with apple scab, making it difficult to identify the disease. However, the tree’s shoots infected with apple scab will bend downward to form a shepherd’s crook.

In addition, the bark at the base of the blighted twigs looks water soaked or dark, dry, and hollow. Cracks usually appear at the edge of the recessed area. This causes the young twigs to die and appear deeply rust-colored or burned. Moreover, dead leaves and fruits remain on the branches.

Preventing A Fire Blight Infection

Follow these steps to prevent or manage a fire blight infection effectively:

Prune Infected Branches

  • Proactively inspect your plants and trees to spot the signs of fire blight. Promptly prune the infected branches to prevent the disease from spreading. Cut at least 8 inches below the infection, closer to the trunk, to stop the bacteria from moving deeper into the tree.

Ensure to completely remove and destroy the infected branches after removing them. Never leave them lying around or compost them, which could lead to further contamination.

Prune During the Dormant Period

  • The dormant period, typically in February or March, is the best time to prune for fire blight prevention. During this time, the tree and the bacteria are less active, reducing the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfect Pruning Tools

  • fire blightDisinfect your pruning tools between each cut. Use a 10% bleach solution or rubbing alcohol. This prevents the bacteria from being transferred to healthy parts of the tree.

Monitor and Act Quickly

  • Monitor your trees throughout the growing season. Remove the branches with the same procedure if you notice new infections developing. However, doing this during cool, dry weather is best to minimize the risk of spreading bacteria.

If you are looking for the best pruning and tree removal services for your trees, contact American Tree Experts Inc today. We are a group of tree experts working in Montclair, New Jersey. Call us today at 973-744-6091, and we will give you a fantastic quote for free.