Last weekend my neighbor put fertilizer around his trees, he said that as the ground was wet the fertilizer would soak in and be there ready for the trees when they start to grow. Is this correct?
In general, trees should be fed only if the soil is deficient in nutrients, without a soil test no-one can tell what the trees need.
Putting fertilizer down now is a waste of money and damaging to the environment. Most of the synthetic fertilizers are highly soluble in water and therefore will just wash away before the soil temperature rises and the microorganisms in the soil have a chance to break them down. So don’t waste your time and money.
Wait until bud break and feed according to needs up until leaf fall. Organic fertilizers do not break down as easily as synthetics and are therefore more effective but even the organics should not be used until the soil temperature is above 55 degrees.
Using too much fertilizer can actually damage trees by osmosis, nutrients can literally be sucked out of the tree cells. and opportunities occur for insect invasion.