Pine trees are relatively easy to feed, and they thrive when they are given an appropriate and timely fertilizer. Pines especially need fertilizer when they grow in areas where topsoil has been removed or where there is no lawn. Pine trees growing in a front yard or backyard can benefit from nutrients received when homeowners fertilize their lawns, but trees can also receive too much fertilizer. Do not fertilize your pine tree if it is growing in soil that is regularly fertilized.
Fertilize your pine trees in April, which is generally the best time to fertilize pines.
Create holes beneath the tree using an aerator tool. Don't place holes closer than 12 inches from the trunks of young trees and not closer than 18 inches from the trunks of mature trees. Holes should be 4 to 12 inches deep and 2 to 3 feet apart. The holes will allow the fertilizer to reach the tree roots better.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves before handling the bag of fertilizer. Partially fill a medium-size scoop or container with fertilizer and broadcast the fertilizer evenly across the ground around the tree. Begin 12 inches from the trunks of young trees and 18 inches from the trunks of mature trees and broadcast out to the edge of the branch tips, or the canopy. Apply 1 to 2 lbs. per 1,000 square feet of soil. Smaller trees require less fertilizer.
Water the ground around the pine tree well. The water will dissolve the fertilizer and allow it to diffuse into the soil, where the roots can reach it better. Use a sprinkler to more thoroughly soak the soil.