Improve Tree Health with Fermented Food Waste

Posted by Eric Lancaster on

So, you have discovered the fabulous Bokashi composting method and you now have a few buckets of fermented food waste. What next?  Instead of buying fertilizer sticks for your trees, why not use the fermented food waste to improve the soil around your trees!?

1. Determine the drip ring
Examine the tree or shrub that you will be fertilizing. The top of the tree is called the canopy and the circumference the branches make is called the drip ring, as that is the area that the branches will literally drip upon. Now look at the ground beneath the drip ring and draw a circle in the ground around the tree.

2. Dig your holes
Divide the circle into four to eight slices, like you would a pie or cake. At the edge dig a small trench along the edge of the drip ring (in the “crust of the slice of pie”).

3. Bury the fermented food waste
Now you are ready to use the food waste as fertilizer. Put a few shovels worth of food waste in the trench, mixing some soil in as you go. You can fill the hole if you have enough soil to keep animals away. If not, just repeat in another spot in a few weeks, making your way around the rest of the tree ring.

4. Cover the food waste
The fermented food waste can attract animals if it is not completely covered. We suggest covering it with 12 inches of soil to ensure animals will not come by and dig it up and eat it to avoid a mess. So, make sure the hole or trench was deep enough and that you have saved all the dirt you dug up.

How does Bokashi composting improve tree health?
Amending the soil helps the trees (and plants around them) tremendously. The fermented food wastes are loaded with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, enzymes, microbes, and nutrients that will feed the plants, beneficial fungi, microbes, worms and insects in the area. The added organic matter will also help with moisture retention and drainage, keeping the soil from compacting. This will also help the roots of the tree be able to grow and expand the canopy. As the roots grow the canopy will grow.

So, adding fermented food waste does quite a bit more than just fertilize the soil. Be sure to keep adding throughout the year and you will see your trees and shrubs become more drought tolerant and grow more vigorously than before!

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