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Posted:  05 Feb 2012 05:17  
I am bidding on maintenance on two beautiful 30 foot ficus trees. My question is how often, if at all would you fertilize them?  Also what would you use? Thanks!
Posted:  05 Feb 2012 19:00  
You say the two trees are beautiful, so let's assume they've been professionally maintained (well) for some time.  That means they must be situated in good light, so they've probably been fertilized regularly.  "Regularly" in bright light is different than "regularly" in marginal light.  I'd suggest every month or so from March through September would be wise, but I can't really recommend a formulation without knowing what's going on in the soil they're growing in.  Have your soil tested (once you win the bid, of course) by a lab that specializes in interior foliage (Southern Agricultural Labs in West Palm Beach, FL is a good one) and get their analysis and recommendations.  A leaf tissue sample might be a good idea as well.  They will tell you what elements are present and in what concentrations, and they'll recommend a fertilization program based on your needs.  If you can provide them some additional info (i.e., light intensity measurements of the space, light exposures, etc.) that will be helpful.

Good luck with the bid!

Posted:  06 Feb 2012 23:07  
Thanks Clem, That will be very helpful!
Posted:  07 Feb 2012 13:12  
GreenDog, I'd guess that the trees are single-trunk, direct-planted and in an area of very bright light - an atrium, shopping mall or similar.
My suggestion would be one application of a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the  growing season (early days of March?). Lesco's Palm and Tropical works well. I say this, not as an endorsement, but because I worked with Lesco and did site visits. That particular formulation gave good and consistent results. An application of a water soluble fertilizer at about the same time - when it coincides with the watering schedule - would 'jump start' the plants and set them up for good and healthy growth.
Thereafter, I'd let the plant tell me. I'd pay close attention to the lower leaves. Take a photograph of the plants and use it as a reference. You will be able to assess how the plants are doing under your care.
I may add that I trust "Liebig's law of the Minimum" and therefore, fertilizer is not an automatic first choice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig's_la ...

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