Friday, April 8, 2011

“F” Is for Fertilizer for Fruit Trees

Fruit trees need fertilizer but they need a different combination than most other trees. The typical tree combination of fertilizers is a 4-1-1 blend. This blend is high in nitrogen which is what promotes leaf growth. While fruit trees do need lots of healthy leaves to support food production for the tree, if the tree puts all its energy into producing leaves, the flower and fruit production will suffer for it.

A low nitrogen blend like 1-1-1- or 1-2-1 is good choices for fruit trees. Your nitrogen should come in equal parts from slow release forms and water soluble forms. Water soluble means it breaks down all at once with contact with water. The plant roots can access this form immediately

Slow-release nitrogen can come from compost or manures, particularly horse or chicken. Just be sure to use aged manures because fresh manures are high in ammonia and can burn roots and young plants.

The best time to apply fertilizers for fruit trees is in the fall (another “F” word) or the winter ust before they go dormant so they can absorb the nutrients.