Though apple trees tend to be relatively a self-sufficient variety of tree, even they can use a little helping hand from time to time in order to perform at their best. And, well, when they are performing at their best, a good apple tree can produce more pounds of fruit per tree than just about any other fruit-bearing tree out there. So follow a few simple steps in the spring and you'll be enjoying the fruits of your labor in no time.
Remove the mulch from around the base of the apple tree in the early spring - optimally prior to the time the buds begin to break. A good shovel and a wheelbarrow work great for this task. The mulch should be saved, as it will likely be able to be reused.
Spread a thin layer of wood ashes or bone meal around the base of the tree along the drip line, which is the outer circumference of the canopy. This will act as a slow release fertilizer in the months to come.
Use a small trowel to slightly break up the soil so that the wood ash or bone meal is fully mixed in with the top inch or so of the soil.
Apply one to two inches of compost around the drip line of the tree. This will provide nutrients for the tree to absorb in the coming months.
Refresh the mulch as needed and then reapply around the base of the tree. The mulch layer over the fertilizer should optimally be two to four inches deep.