Recently at Tree Care Auckland, we have been experimenting with how to use compost tea as a health care treatment for trees. As most British people will tell you, there are not many problems that cannot be solved with a cup of tea and it turns out the same is true for your trees. Through experiments, Gardeners have found that the quality of their soil and health of their plants can be greatly increased by applying certain amounts of a “tea” brewed from well decomposed compost. At Tree Care Auckland we have been trialling this method on trees to see if we can bring about the same results.
So what is Compost Tea?
Basically, the answer is very simple. You take well-rotted compost, mix it with water, and let it sit until the nutrients from the compost leech out forming a solution that can be applied to your garden. It is effectively liquid compost. As organic material is decomposed by worms and other organisms a nutrient rich liquid is formed. If you have a worm garden this is what you collect at the bottom as it drips outs. Compost tea is a process of creating that nutrient rich liquid for those that do not have a worm farm.
How to use Compost Tea and how does it work?
The compost tea that you produce is packed full of nutrients, microbes and other organisms in natural quantities that are readily used by your garden. The tea nitrifies the soil, improving the soil structure and the overall health of the soil. This in turn improves the health of the plant. When a plant is healthy it has a stronger immune system and is better placed to stave off infections or diseases. This method works with the plants own natural defence mechanisms, strengthening them by using natural products rather than applying synthetic chemicals.
What are the benefits of Compost Tea?
Using compost tea is a natural way of improving not only the health of your plants, but also the soil they grow in and the garden as a whole. Application can help to increase the speed that organic material is broken down into the soil releasing its nutrients to plants. The health and vitality of your plants are also improved helping them to protect themselves against pests and diseases. Compost tea is by its very nature organic and does not contain any dangerous chemicals. It is safe to use on food crops and some people also report that it has a nice woodland floor type smell.
How is Compost Tea applied to trees?
Although the tea works with the soil and roots of the tree it is applied to the canopy of the tree via a spray. This forms a residue on the leaves which gets washed off by the rain and drips into the soil. This method ensures a slow release of the tea into the soil, adding it at a rate that can be easily absorbed. For larger trees our climbing arborist can use ladders or elevated work platforms to ensure the whole of the canopy is covered.
We are currently trailing the use of compost tea on some of our clients’ trees and we will report back later to let you know the results. If you are interested in finding out how we can apply compost tea to benefit your trees please feel free to contact us. Alternatively follow the below links to learn how you can brew your own compost tea and apply it yourself.