Apple trees can give you a delicious fresh supply of fruits for pies, jams, and jellies. While a lot of work goes into planting an apple tree and getting it through its first year, once your plant is established it does get easier. As with many other fruiting trees, apple trees benefit from regular fertilizing in late winter or early spring. The key is knowing how much fertilizer you should use on your second year apple tree, and then following through in subsequent years to maintain good health and productivity.
Michale Parker, of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, recommends that you have the soil tested before you plant, and each year after you plant the tree at the same time each year. Soil tests combined with leaf analysis are the most precise way to determine the proper amount of fertilizer for an apple tree without applying too much fertilizer. If this is not possible, a general recommendation is two pounds of fertilizer for a second year apple tree.
Draw any mulch away from the base of your apple tree with your rake, if necessary. While mulch is good for holding in moisture and preventing weeds, you'll want your fertilizer resting under the mulch layer.
Measure two pounds of fertilizer into a bucket or container. Scatter all of the fertilizer equally over the ground under the tree by scooping a quarter to a half cup of granules into a scooper or measuring cup at a time. Steer clear of the trunk of the tree by 6 inches, and do not extend beyond the outermost branches or "drip line."
Sprinkle the ground area with water enough to dampen the granules and soil, but not so much that you create a runoff situation which disturbs the fertilizer granules.
Rake any mulch back into place to cover over the granules being careful not to push the fertilizer around too much as you move the mulch over it.