Where Do Trees Get Their Nutrients? A Guide to Tree Basics for Nashville, TN, Residents

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All living things need nutrients for growth and optimal health. However, while you already know where the nutrients come from for humans and animals, you probably don’t know how your trees get what they need to thrive and blossom.

Where do trees get their nutrients? Monster Tree Service of Music City, the most trusted tree service in Nashville, TN, covers the details in this post. 

Why Do Trees Need Nutrients?

Nutrient deficiencies affect trees in diverse ways. They can cause stunted growth, premature leaf loss, crown thinning, and severe wilting. The loss of nutrients can also cause fungal growth around the tree trunk, increasing the risk of rot.

Trees are living things. Every living thing needs adequate nutrient-filled sustenance to thrive. If your trees don’t get all the nutrients they need, they will likely die before reaching maturity.

Any hindrances to nutrient uptake in trees that have reached maturity will make them more prone to diseases, pest infestation, and damage from other external stressors.

Where Do Trees Get Their Nutrients From?

The three major tree nutrient sources include soil, air, and water. 

Nutrients From the Soil

The bulk of a tree’s nutrients comes from the soil. Your tree’s roots absorb the nutrients it needs, sending them upward for use by the flowers, leaves, and branches. The most essential soil nutrients for trees include:

  • Phosphorous. This crucial mineral ensures root growth and nutrient absorption.

  • Potassium. Trees need potassium to generate the chlorophyll they need for photosynthesis.

  • Nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes healthy growth. A tree receiving adequate nitrogen typically has healthy green leaves.

Other essential nutrients trees get from the soil include chlorine, manganese, zinc, boron, copper, nickel, iron, sulfur, and magnesium. If your soil lacks these nutrients, you may need to use fertilizers to fill the nutrient gap. 

You’ll also need fertilizers if the tree hasn’t developed the root system to support tree root uptake and tree nutrient absorption naturally. 


Trees also get oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen from water. Perhaps most importantly, water plays a huge role in the process of photosynthesis. The tree’s roots transport water and nutrients to and from the leaves through the xylem and phloem.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that dehydration ranks among the biggest stressors in trees. You must ensure your trees get enough water, especially when water is limited.


You probably know that trees make excellent carbon sinks. They use the carbon in the air and other nutrients like hydrogen and oxygen to support photosynthesis and create carbohydrates.

Get Expert Tree Care Advice From Your Local Professionals

Now you know the answer to the question, “Where do trees get their nutrients?” Are you wondering if your trees are getting all the nutrients they need? Do you have other questions regarding tree root system and nutrients absorption? Maybe you wonder if it’s necessary to support your trees with some fertilizer. Our team is on standby to answer all your questions.

Call Monster Tree Service of Music City today at (615) 455-2009 to schedule a consultation or for tips for preventing a tree from growing.