What Are the Essential Tree Nutrients?

Just like people need essential nutrients to survive and thrive, so do trees. Trees require vitamins and minerals to grow tall and strong, produce leaves and fruit, and protect themselves from disease.

As a competent tree service company in Tampa, FL, Arborist Aboard has a deep understanding of tree nutrients. Let’s look at some of the most important ones and how they benefit trees.

Primary Macronutrients

Trees rely on three primary macronutrients to survive and grow. Without these essential minerals, trees would not be able to carry out fundamental functions, such as photosynthesis, respiration, and cell growth:

  • Nitrogen (N). Chlorophyll (the green pigment in leaves needed for sunlight absorption) largely consists of nitrogen. It helps trees convert sunlight and water into energy and stimulates leaf growth.
  • Phosphorus (P). Phosphorus is essential for tree root, flower, and fruit development. Phosphorus also helps trees resist disease and withstand environmental stress.
  • Potassium (K). Potassium is responsible for the movement of water and nutrients within tree cells. It also helps strengthen cell walls, enhance cold tolerance, and increase fruit production.

Secondary macronutrients

Compared to primary macronutrients, trees don’t require large quantities of secondary macronutrients. However, they are still essential for tree health:

  • Sulfur (S). Sulfur is a crucial component of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Proteins play a role in many tree functions, such as photosynthesis and respiration.
  • Magnesium (Mg). Magnesium is one of the tree nutrients necessary for photosynthesis and plant growth enzyme production.
  • Calcium (Ca). Calcium helps trees absorb and use other nutrients as well as create a durable cell structure.

Most soil types contain adequate concentrations of primary and secondary macronutrients for tree growth. However, some may hold limited amounts due to weathering, erosion, and leaching.

If you notice your trees don’t look as healthy as they should be, it may stem from limited soil nutrient availability. A certified arborist can conduct a tree analysis and prescribe the appropriate fertilizer to help your trees get the necessary nutrition.


In addition to macronutrients, trees need small amounts of certain micronutrients, also known as “trace elements.” These include:

  • Boron (B). Boron aids in the transportation of other nutrients within tree cells as well as fruit production.
  • Iron (Fe). Plants require iron to produce chlorophyll.
  • Manganese (Mn). Manganese plays a role in several tree functions, including photosynthesis and the formation of enzymes.
  • Zinc (Zn). Many tree enzymes that control growth and development require zinc. Zinc also helps with the transportation of other nutrients within tree cells.
  • Chloride (Cl). Chloride helps with the formation of cell walls and aids in the absorption of other nutrients.
  • Copper (Cu). Copper is necessary for several tree functions, such as photosynthesis, respiration, and nutrient absorption.
  • Chloride. Chloride helps with forming cell walls and absorbing individual soil nutrients.
  • Molybdenum (Mo). Molybdenum is a crucial component of enzymes that help T=trees convert nitrogen into a usable form.

Get in Touch with Tampa’s Leading Tree Experts

With so much to consider, it’s no wonder why tree nutrition can become confusing. How many pounds of nitrogen does your tree need? Should you use natural fertilizers that contain organic matter?

Arborist Aboard can help you answer these questions and develop a tree nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs. As IRA-certified arborists, we have the knowledge and experience to ensure your plants get what they need to thrive.

Don’t wait for your living landscape to lose its luster. Call us at (813) 920-4410 to discuss tree nutrients today. We also encourage you to browse our blog to learn how trees regulate climate, among other insightful topics.


Arborist Aboard is owned and operated by an ISA Certified Arborist and a second-generation tree care professional. We take great pride in our work and the customers we serve, commercial and residential.

Contact Us

8611 Vivian Bass Way
Odessa, FL. 33556

(813) 920-4410

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