Although arborvitae is famous for its dense foliage and versatility, this popular evergreen plant requires proper care and nourishment to thrive. If your arborvitae doesn’t have vibrant green color and good health, make an investment in the best fertilizer for arborvitae.
Here are the best fertilizers for arborvitae you can buy in 2023:
- Easy To Use (Spikes): Jobe's
- Best For Dog Owners (Spikes): Miracle-Gro
- Best For Root Growth (Granules): Scotts
- Best For Organic Gardening (Granules): Espoma
- Feed And Protected (Granules): BioAdvanced
- Best For Browning Arborvitae (Liquid): TPS NUTRIENTS
|6 Best Fertilizers For Arborvitae|
Easy To Use
Best For Dog Owners
Best For Root Growth
Best For Organic Gardening
Feed And Protected
Best For Browning Arborvitae
Easy To Use: Jobe's
- Easy to use, handle, and store
- Consistent release
- Long-lasting effect
- Good price
- Hard to hit into the ground
It is very easy to use the Jobe’s spikes compared to other types of fertilizers because this product is pre-measured. Each spike is packed with an exact dosage of nutrients for your arborvitae, so there is no need for you to measure and mix or experience any complicated step to apply it on your plants.
When it comes to application, simply insert the spikes into the soil near the root zone. This process is so effortless whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, so you don’t need the support of any specialized equipment or knowledge.
This product requires minimal maintenance, so you can save a lot of time and effort. After inserting the spike into the soil, it will gradually release nutrients to your plants over time for long without over-fertilizing, so that you don’t have to reapply frequently.
To apply liquid and granular fertilizers, measure and mix with water or cause a mess, even some of them create a strong odor. Meanwhile, these fertilizer spikes are relatively clean and odorless during the application.
When to apply
Early spring and late fall
Continuous supply of nutrients below the surface
The Jobe's Spikes are easy to use compared to other types such as liquid and granular fertilizers.
Best For Dog Owners: Miracle-Gro
- Easy to use
- Safe to pets
- Easy to break when putting it in dirt
Do you own a dog? Is your garden a place where he loves playing? Do you worry your lovely pet can accidentally lick chemical ingredients when you fertilize your plants? If all of your answers are yes, choose the Miracle-Gro Spikes. A dog owner used it and was satisfied with its performance. After “hiding" it under the ground, her dog can’t play with it and consume its dangerous ingredients anymore.
When to apply
Spring and Fall
The Miracle-Gro Spikes are a safe solution for dog owners because after applying, they don’t appear on the ground surface.
Best For Root Growth: Scotts
- Easy to use
- Good for the price
- Unclear directions
Is your arborvitae in the early stages of life? If so, it needs to focus on growing its roots vigorously for a firm foundation. Moreover, an adequate root growth can anchor itself in the soil to absorb water and nutrients for a healthy above-ground development. According to the manufacturer, the Scotts Granules can encourage vigorous root growth and lush foliage.
Encourages vigorous root growth and lush foliage
Feeds for up to 2 months
The Scotts Granules help your arborvitae have a strong root system for a healthy above-ground development.
Best For Organic Gardening: Espoma
- Great on trees
- Easy to place around the plants
- Not popular
If you are caring about organic gardening, it means that you want to approach the use of natural and sustainable practices while reducing the use of synthetic chemicals and artificial additives. And these things are what the Espoma Granules can do.
As you can see on the product packaging, this fetilizer is formulated for organic gardening because it is 100% natural and organic without sludges and fillers. Thus, this bio-tone enhanced formula is safe for people, pets, and the planet. Even the manufacturer commits that their fertilizer is 100% solar power, organic approved, and having bio-preferred packaging.
When to apply
Early Spring and late Fall
Analysis with 5% Sulfur
Approved for organic gardening
The manufacturer claims that their Espoma Granules are 100% organic and natural, so they are good for organic gardening.
Feed And Protected: BioAdvanced
- Easy to use
- Not ideal for edible plants
While other products in this list just feed your plants, this fertilizer can feed and protect them from insects for up to 12 months per application.
Specifically, it kills 40 listed insects. You can check the detailed information on the website or product label, but here are some of them: adelgid, aphids, Emerald Ash Bares, Japanese Beetles (adult), leaf-miners, and more. Besides, it even can prevent new infestations for up to one year. This product features a systemic protection that can protect from the roots to the stem of each leaf no matter whether you grow your plants in pots, containers or in the garden.
Systemic protection for up to 12 months
Kills insects and pests
The BioAdvanced Granules are a 2-in-1 product because it can both feed and protect your plants.
Best For Browning Arborvitae: TPS NUTRIENTS
- Effortless to apply and use
- Reasonable price
- Low odor
- Straightforward to follow the directions
- Over-fertilizing this product can burn too young trees
If your arborvitae is showing signs of browning that needs immediate attention, consider the TPS NUTRIENTS Liquid fertilizer. The plant roots can absorb this liquid quicker than other forms of fertilizers, so it can provide a rapid uptake of essential nutrients to recover faster.
|TPS NUTRIENTS Specifications|
Premium ingredients: minerals + seaweed
The TPS NUTRIENTS Liquid can quickly provide your plants with essential nutrients to recover or treat its problems.
How To Choose The Best Fertilizer For Arborvitae?
What Is The Ideal N-P-K Ratio For Arborvitae?
Normally, you can choose a balanced fertilizer for arborvitae like 10-10-10. This ratio provides your plants with a good overall nutrient supply to support foliage growth, root development, flowering, and overall plant health. However, if you are more careful, you can choose fertilizer depending on each specific stage:
In the early growth stages, young arborvitae may need slightly high phosphorus (P) levels to support root development.
When the arborvitae matures, it requires a higher nitrogen (N) ratio like 20-10-10 to support foliage growth and maintain the green color of the plants.
Should You Buy Slow-or-quick-release Fertilizer?
This depends on your needs because each of them has their own benefits and drawbacks.
This type can offer a steady and gradual release of nutrients for a long time to promote consistent growth while minimizing the risk of nutrient burn and over-fertilization. It doesn’t require you to apply frequently as what you need to do with quick-release fertilizers.
This solution is ideal for mature arborvitae and established landscapes because they require a long-term nutrient source.
This type can provide a quick nutrient boost to your arborvitae to promote its growth immediately, so it’s ideal for plants which lack specific nutrients.
I highly recommend it for young arborvitae or plants that need vigorous growth quickly.
Should You Purchase Organic Or Synthetic Fertilizer For Arborvitae?
Arborvitae is sensitive, especially young plants, so in this stage, choose organic fertilizers that release nutrients slowly and gently to support its steady growth and root development.
Meanwhile, mature arborvitae responds well to synthetic fertilizers, especially in its active growth periods because it needs a quick nutrient boost. This type of fertilizer can provide your plants with nutrients quickly and precisely.
Which Brands Make The Best Fertilizer For Arborvitae?
This brand is well-known in the gardening and horticulture industry because they specialize in manufacturing a variety of high-quality plant care and fertilization products. When it comes to fertilizers, their products are organic, natural, and environmentally friendly.
When to fertilize arborvitae?
Late winter to early spring
Late winter to early spring is before new growth begins. Using a slow-release and balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for evergreen trees and shrubs can offer essential nutrients in the growing season.
Late summer to autumn
If you fertilize your arborvitae at this time, it will prepare the plants for winter and support root development. Like the case above, choose a balanced and slow-release fertilizer, but avoid a high content of nitrogen that can stimulate the late-season growth.
Newly planted and young arborvitae plants require you to fertilize them more frequently during the first few years for a strong root system and vigorous growth.
After 3-5 years, arborvitae is well-established, so you can minimize the frequency of fertilization. Normally, applying fertilizer once a year in the spring is enough.
Why is my arborvitae turning brown in summer?
Insufficient and irregular watering can cause stress on your plants, leading to browning, so your arborvitae needs to retain consistent moisture, especially in hot and dry summer months.
Extended periods of drought and inadequate water supply are 2 of other causes of stress, leading to browning of the foliage, so you need to water your plants deeply and regularly, especially when it’s dry.
Poor drainage, compacted soil, and damaged root system can stop the roots from accessing sufficient water and nutrients, leading to browning.
Over-watering can suffocate the roots, which cause root rot and brown foliage.
If you prune and trim your arborvitae at the wrong time and in an improper way, it can cause stress, leading to brown and damaged foliage.
The infestations of insects such as spider mites or bagworms and diseases like fungal infections can turn the foliage into a brown color.
Harsh environmental conditions such as pollution, strong wind, and extreme heat can stress your arborvitae, resulting in browning.
Nutrient deficiency of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, iron, and magnesium is also one cause of this problem.
Sometimes, the winter frost and cold wind can damage your arborvitae with the signs of brown spots.
How do you increase arborvitae growth?
Provide your arborvitae with well-draining soil and adequate sunlight. In general, this type of plant likes full sun to partial shade.
You can amend the structure of soil, fertility and drainage in the planting site by adding organic matter such as compost and well-rotted manure.
Water consistently and amply, especially in dry periods. Moreover, you also need to deeply water to encourage the development of the root.
Provide essential nutrients for the arborvitae growth by applying a balanced and slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Remember to follow the recommended application rates on the product packaging.
Pruning can not only shape the plants to maintain a desirable form but also get rid of dead and damaged branches to encourage new growth. However, don’t over prune because excessive trimming can stress your arborvitae.
Applying a layer of organic mulch (wood chips or straw) around the base of the plant can retain the moisture of the soil, regulate the temperature of the soil, and suppress weeds.
In the early years, it’s very important to protect your arborvitae from harsh conditions to minimize stress and damage to foliage.
Regularly inspecting your arborvitae helps you early detect any signs of pests, stress, and diseases timely to treat appropriately.
Some arborvitae varieties can grow faster than others, so simply choose it to increase the growth quickly.
What is the best type of arborvitae?
Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis ’Emerald Green’) can maintain a vibrant green color year-round. Its compact and narrow growth habit is perfect for hedges and privacy screens.
The Thuja Green Giant (Thuja Standishii x Plicata ‘Green Giant’) grows rapidly, so it can establish a dense hedge in a short time. This type tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions. For the appearance, it exhibits a natural conical shape.
Techny Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis ‘Techny’) has a classic appearance with a pyramid shape and dark green foliage. Although this type grows at a moderate pace, it can adapt well to different types of soil. I strongly recommend it for hedges and landscaping.
Holmstrup Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’) has a compact and rounded form with dense foliage, so it suits small spaces. Or you can grow it as a focal point in your landscape.
Nigra Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis ‘Nigra’) has a unique dark green foliage with a slightly narrow form, so it can provide your landscape with a striking contrast.
As the name suggests, American Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis) is native to North America, but it can adapt to many growing conditions. This type of arborvitae is available in different cultivars with different growth habits and foliage colors as well.
The best fertilizer for arborvitae can help you provide your plants with the right balance of essential nutrients for a lush and thriving foliage. Don’t skip it if you want to beauty and charm your landscape for years.