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How to Fertilize Fruit Trees

By Charles Boning ; Updated September 21, 2017

Fertilizing fruit trees should only be done after the tree has established itself for a few months after planting, at which point the fertilizer should be sprinkled evenly under the canopy of the tree. Find out how to properly fertilize a fruit tree with gardening information from a Florida plant enthusiast in this free video on fruit trees.


Hi, I'm Charles Boning, author of Florida's Best Fruiting Plants. We're here at Jene's Tropicals, and my topic is how to fertilize fruit trees. When you start fruit trees out, it's important to hold off fertilization until the tree really establishes itself. With the deciduous trees that are planted in the winter, this means holding off on fertilization, usually until May, after the tree has put out a significant flush of growth. In respect to tropical trees, it means,and subtropical trees, it means holding off for two, or better yet, three or four months, before applying a light fertilization. The best way to push trees along, is through frequent light fertilizations, for young trees. Once the trees are established, they need less frequent fertilizations. It's always better to under fertilize, than to over fertilize. Over fertilization can send the tree into shock, and can burn tender feeder roots. Another consideration, is what type of fertilizer to use. Now generally, a ballast fertilizer is ok for most fruit trees. There are special requirements for certain fruit trees, which I'm not going to get into today. However, one aspect is how to spread the fertilizer under the tree. The fertilizer should be evenly spread under the canopy of the tree. It shouldn't be concentrated in any one spot, or any other spot. Another important consideration when you go to fertilize a tree, is to knock off fertilization, as cold weather approaches. Up north, this may mean stopping fertilization as early as June or July. In the south, you might be able to still fertilize as late as September, but after that, you don't want to promote late flushes of growth, that may subject the tree to tender, cold injury. Another question that gardeners often get wrong, is when exactly, to fertilize fruit trees. Most of them think that the best time to fertilize, is just before a heavy rain, but in actuality, a heavy rain washes the fertilizer down through the root zone, or off and into the water system. The absolute best time to fertilize, is immediately after a heavy rain storm, then the capillary action draws the fertilizer down in the root zone, and holds it there, so the tree can receive the best possible nutrition. That's how to fertilize a fruit tree. I'm Charles Boning.


About the Author


Charles Boning is a writer, illustrator and attorney. He writes about fruiting plants, spices and also enjoys natural history and travel. Recent titles include "Florida's Rivers" and "Florida's Best Fruiting Plants," both published by Pineapple Press. Boning is currently working on "Florida's Best Herbs and Spices," scheduled for release in 2009.