How to Fertilize the Ground for Evergreens


Evergreens add color to the landscape year around. The needles range in color from dark green to blue-white and there are both trees and shrub varieties. Evergreens also require less fertilization than deciduous trees, even though they provide foliage in every season. Evergreens only require fertilization if they are growing too slowly and needle color is off, when they have recently been subjected to insect infestation or disease, or if they are being grown in infertile sandy or clay soil.

Step 1

Fertilize in early spring before the evergreen begins exhibiting new growth for best growth. Fertilizing up until mid summer is acceptable if the spring fertilization is missed.

Step 2

Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as a 10-8-6 combination. Nitrogen is the first number on the fertilizer label and should be the highest number.

Step 3

Measure the width of the shrub or tree then multiply that number by itself to get the square feet the plant covers. Apply 1 pound of fertilizer for every 100 square feet the evergreen covers with a drop spreader.

Step 4

Water thoroughly after fertilizing. This prevents fertilizer burn to the tree and to surrounding grass from undissolved fertilizer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer or applying it at a rate of more than 2 pounds per 100 feet may damage grass or other plants near the tree. Fertilizing after mid-summer may result in new needle growth, which will be damaged once winter freeze occurs.

Things You'll Need

  • Nitrogen-rich granular fertilizer
  • Measuring tape
  • Drop spreader


  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • University of Illinois Extension
Keywords: fertilizing evergreens, feeding shrubs and trees, evergreens and nitrogen

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.