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How to Use 19-6-12 Slow-Release Plant Food on a Fruit Tree

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

Fertilizer identified as 19-6-12 is high-nitrogen plant food. According to agriculturists with the North Carolina State University Extension Service, nitrogen is the most important nutrient for increasing a plant’s growth. The second number, the 6, represents phosphorous, which promotes, among other things, flowering and fruit production. The last number, 12, represents potassium, which is involved in several processes--photosynthesis and the regulation of water are two. Because 19-6-12 fertilizer is a slow-release formula, it will release the nutrients at a measured rate over a period of time. Using slow-release fertilizers cuts down on the number of times per year you will need to apply it.

Remove any mulch, leaf litter and other debris from beneath the fruit tree.

Add the fertilizer to the broadcast spreader, at the rate suggested on the package, and scatter it under the canopy of the tree and 2 feet beyond.

Rake the fertilizer into the top inch of soil.

Water the fertilized area to activate the product. You don’t need to saturate the soil, but make sure you provide at least 1/2 inch of water.

Lay down fresh mulch over the fertilized area, if desired.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Mulch (optional)


  • Fertilizers may contain chemicals that are poisonous. Read and follow all label directions, wear protective clothing during application, and store the fertilizer out of the reach of children and pets.

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.