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Apple trees well fertilized

4 Things to look for in picking the best fertilizer for Fruit Trees.

4 Things to look for in picking the best fertilizer for Fruit Trees.

Is there anything better than a fresh piece of fruit right off the tree? Those who grow fruit trees or work in orchards know exactly what we mean. To get a fruitful harvest, just like other plants, fruit trees require good nutrition to grow and produce. They require a healthy environment, the right conditions and healthy soil. But they also need a boost from time to time to ensure they are getting the right nutrients. Water soluble fertilizers and chelated iron fertilizers and other micronutrients (manganese, copper, zinc etc.) can give fruit trees the boost they need. 

However, not all fertilizers are not created equally. The type of fertilizer you need is dependent on many factors, most importantly, the type of plant you’re growing. Below, we’ll offer expert tips for selecting the right fertilizer for fruit trees, how to apply fertilizer and answer common questions we get from our customers.

Apple trees well fertilized

4 Tips for picking the best fertilizer for fruit trees

There are a lot of different fertilizers you could choose to use. Here are four important considerations when picking the best fertilizer for fruit trees:

1. Choose the right NPK formula

Fertilizers come in many different formulas. You need to choose a water soluble fertilizer with the proper balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).  For example, you can apply a balanced fertilizer like a 20-20-20.

2. Choose the type of fruit tree fertilizer that makes sense for your needs

There are typically three main types of fruit tree fertilizers to consider:

  • Granular: This is sprinkled around the ground of the trees using a seed spreader and then raked or watered into the ground.
  • Powdered: This can be placed directly into the soil around your trees. It can also be mixed with water for a diluted application. 
  • Liquid: You spray this on the ground to soak in.

3. Assess the condition of your fruit trees & soil

The condition of your fruit trees, age, soil type will affect the type of fertilizer you should be using. For example, if your trees are struggling or not experiencing ideal growth, you may need to use a stronger fertilizer. 

We recommend you test the soil before planting. The result will help you ensure the soil pH is suitable for the fruit crop you’re growing and how much – and not too much – of each nutrient.

For example, Iron deficiency is a problem in fruit trees, particularly in conditions of high pH soil. Chelated iron fertilizer with EDTA can be used to correct iron deficient fruit trees. 

Soil testing services are available either through private labs or sometimes public labs at no charge.

4. Consider organic vs synthetic fertilizer

Organic fertilizers contain plant or animal-based waste and other natural ingredients. They typically have lower nutrient levels. Synthetic fertilizers are created using minerals and synthetic chemicals which can be used with a high level of precision to lead to higher yields.

Comparison of 2 lemon trees one lush due to fertilizer choise, one not.

What’s the best fertilizer for fruit trees?

Water soluble fertilizers are best for fruit trees. They are designed to dissolve into water and offer the following benefits: 

  • They are fast acting
  • Fruit trees will get a nutrient boost right away
  • There is a lower chance of over-fertilization
  • Water soluble fertilizers can be applied more often

How do you apply full fertilizer to fruit trees?

Applying fertilizer correctly is a key step to having an ideal fruit tree harvest. Follow these tips to ensure you are applying fertilizer correctly:

  • Don’t add fertilizer when you plant. Start 3 weeks after planting once the soil has settled completely around the roots.
  • Fertilize in early spring, just before the buds open on the tree.
  • Apply in a split application. Half at the end of first spring month, second after the second spring month.
  • Not all trees need fertilizer every year – measure their annual growth and condition to determine if fertilizer is required. 
  • Assess the size and type of tree – measures its nitrogen content.
  • Choose the right fertilizer formula based on the condition of the tree.
  • Calculate how much fertilizer to apply. The age and rate of growth of your fruit tree matter. For example, an apple tree should grow at least 12” a year. If less, increase the fertilizer by 50% in subsequent years. And for stone fruits (plums, peaches, cherries), if the tree didn’t provide a crop the previous year, don’t fertilize.
  • Follow the label instructions. At Plant-Prod, we pride ourselves on having clear and helpful instructions on every label.
  • Apply the fertilizer evenly beneath the dripline of the branches, staying at least 18” from the trunk.

What is the best month to fertilize fruit trees?

Early spring is the best time to fertilize all types of fruit trees, including apple trees. If you wait too long into the growing season, it could lead to late summer growth and make your trees more prone to winter damage. Remember that too much fertilization can be a bad thing. It can reduce fruiting and promote excessive leaf growth.

Plant-Prod is a manufacturer of water soluble fertilizers for fruit trees, plants and flowers including cannabis. The choice of growers from California to Maine for over 70 years, Plant-Prod fertilizers are made from the finest raw ingredients in the world, tested constantly for purity and turbo-milled to ensure 100% solubility in order to help you improve yields while cutting fertilizer costs. Click here to find a Plant-Prod fertilizer supplier near you.