How to Fertilize Fruit Trees


Fruit trees need a different mixture of fertilizer than other trees. Typical fertilizer contains too much nitrogen that can create a bumper crop in lush vegetation in fruit trees without much fruit production. Using a low-nitrogen mixture with water-soluble nitrogen, phosphorus and potash in a 1-2-1 ratio works best. Water-soluble nitrogen will time-release through the season for continued feeding. Generally, fruit trees may only need to be fertilized if the tree is showing signs of stress, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth.

Fertilizing Fruit Trees

Step 1

Visit a full-service garden center to have your fertilizer prepared. Knowing the age of your trees will help. Trees will need 1/10 of a pound of nitrogen for each year of age. If you don't know your tree's age, give an estimate of the tree's size to the garden center for assistance.

Step 2

Circle the fertilizer evenly around the drip line, the soil under the outer-most layer of leaves.

Step 3

Work the fertilizer into the soil well. With your spade, turn the soil toward the tree, mixing the fertilizer in until the dirt is a fine consistency.

Step 4

Mulch to protect against run-off and weed control. Keep mulch away from the trunk of this tree. This helps fight fungus growth and allows air to get into the dirt as well.

Step 5

Water the area to activate the fertilizer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fruit trees growing in yards where lawns are regularly fertilized do not need extra fertilizer. Using the right mixture of nutrients is key to a good fruit production.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer in a 1-2-1 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash
  • Spade
  • Mulch


  • Fruit Trees
  • Fertilizing Tree and Small Fruits

Who Can Help

  • Fertlizing Your Garden
Keywords: fruit trees, fertlizing fruit tree, growing fruit trees

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University to study education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills reusing, recycling and reinventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.