FERTILIZER FOR FRUIT TREES – Components and Requirements


A COMPLETE WORKUP ON FERTILIZER FOR FRUIT TREES, CITRUS, MELONS, BERRIES, GRAPES

As with vegetables, for fruit fertilization, you need organic matter, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, hydrogen, nitrogen and micronutrients.  Zinc, manganese, iron, boron, copper, chloride and molybdenum are essential elements for fruit tree and plant growth, and other elements such as cobalt, selenium, silicon and vanadium appear to have functions in promoting microbial activity and nitrogen fixation or synergistic functions in promoting plant growth.  Although micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients, the maintenance of a healthy plant growth system usually supplies enough of these elements for fruit crops.  Booklet cover shows wheat, apples, tomatoes, cucmbers, hay, golf course, potatoes and beans.

Fertilizer for fruit is often the only answer, but you can begin with organic matter, from high quality compost, low-salt composted manures, cover crops, decayed leaves and even layers of non-composted plant sources, as in Lasagna Gardening which includes planting berry patches and fruit trees in organic matter up to three feet deep.  There are ways to create fertilizer for fruit.  And there are fertilizers for fruit that are natural and even organic.  All of them have the components of essential macronutrients and micronutrients that follow.

We will resource you to liquid organic or all natural fertilizer choices as the requirements are run down.  If you are after chemical fertilizers, you will gain information here but no chemicals, no ammonium nitrate or urea here, not even coated urea.  We believe in rebuilding the soil life and strength in the fruit system to offset any stresses from drought, extreme heat, cold, frost, disease and infestations.

Fertilizing fruit trees - guide and catalog - banner on fruit fertilzer shows AGGRAND natural products.

Soil Testing Sent to You and the AGGRAND Certified Crop Advisor

But first you need to consider getting your soil test done for the area where your fruit is growing.  Take random samples around 6-inches deep, six samples will do.  Pool them together for one sample and mix.  These are best done in the spring or fall and not when there has been heavy rainfall or recent fertilizer applications.  You can send the soil analysis to us and the AGGRAND techs in order to work up a program for your fruit crops.  If you do not have a soil test for your fruit crops, here is one to order now and the results will be sent to you and to the  AGGRAND Certified Crop Advisor.  In your soil test, the relative fertilizer needed for large fruit bushes, vines and trees such as blueberries, grape vines, currant trees and other fruit trees are given per plant.  For lighter weight plants like raspberries, elderberries, gooseberries, strawberries and blackberries, the fertilizer recommendations are given per 100-foot row.


FORM and CATALOG

 

Herbicides and Pesticides Can Be In Your Fertilizers – Check the bag carefully.

Now, here is a HUGE and DETAILED TABLE OF CONTENTS so you can go to your interest quickly.

  1. Soil Testing Sent to You and the AGGRAND Certified Crop Advisor
  2. Herbicides and Pesticides Can Be In Your Fertilizers – Check the bag carefully.
  3. Essential Consideration – Organic Matter As A Fertilizer for Fruit Trees, Field Plants, Vineyards
  4. Sources Naturally Rich In Nitrogen Fertilizer for Fruit Trees, Citrus Trees and Field Fruit Crops
  5. Phosphorus Fertilizer Requirements for Fruit Trees and Plants Through Bonemeal and All Natural or Organic 4-3-3
  6. Use the form and catalog to get the download link for wholesale prices on fertilizer for fruit. Also the Crop Guide which includes apples, berries, citrus, tomatoes.   And the Gardening Guide which includes all fruit.
  7. Potassium in the Fertilizer for Fruit Comes from Sulfate of Potash, Kelp, Wood Ashes and Composted Manure
  8. Sulfur As the Fourth Major Nutrient Fruit Cannot Deny
  9. Fertilizers for Fruit to Balance Soil pH Are Usually Calcium Requirements
  10. Hydrogen for Fruit Through Water by Balanced pH
  11. Calcium Fertilizer for Fruit Trees, Citrus, Berries, Grapes, Tomatoes
  12. Magnesium In Excess Creates Those Clay-like Soils
  13. Proper Organic Matter Best Guarantee for Adequate Micronutrients for Fruit Crops
  14. Iron Supplementation Fertilizers for Fruits, A long list of fruits
  15. Boron Supplementation for An Even Longer List of Fruit – Sandy soil leaching your boron?
  16. Manganese Can Opt Out in Organic Soils Higher than 5.8 pH
  17. Seldom Needed Copper, Nickel, Zinc, Molybdenum Supplementation in Fertilizers for Fruit
  18. Dealing With Excess Sodium In Fruit Crops
  19. STOREFRONT for PRICES AND SIZES  —  Fertilizer for Fruit Trees and Fruit Crops by AGGRAND
  20. FERTILIZER RESULTS INCLUDING FRUIT CROPS
  21. FARM FERTILIZER RESULTS
  22. FRUIT FERTILIZERS
  23. FERTILIZING FRUIT TREES

Essential Consideration – Organic Matter As A Fertilizer for Fruit Trees, Field Plants, Vineyards

A huge pile of composted organic matter.

In our dreams we all have a load of organic matter to use any way we would like, fruit and vegetable gardens thrive on this stuff. Aggrand has all natural fertilizers that create organic matter within the soil.

ORGANIC MATTER  —  Organic matter (OM) supplies many plant nutrients and the carbon necessary for the proliferation of all living things. Carbon stimulates the proliferation of microbes (fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and algae), earthworms and other beneficial creatures that live in the soil.  Microbes secrete organic acids that release nutrients from soil particles by etching their surfaces, and they also secrete polysaccharides that glue soil particles into stable aggregates.  The end result of prolific microbial activity is improved soil structure and air penetration.  It is necessary to supply organic matter regularly to optimize growth of microbes, soil creatures and plants.  Use of cover crops, return of crop residue, addition of compost and/or composted manure and practices that maintain organic matter on the surface of the soil all increase organic matter levels and decrease the need of fertilizer for fruit trees and field crops, but it takes time and supply.  In the end, your soil will have a looser texture and not be as hard to work.  If you have sandy soil that leaches out your fertilizer applications, it will hold water and nutrients for your fruit trees and crops.

Application of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 stimulates microbial and earthworm activity by supplying carbon and a balanced array of other nutrients. It also contains concentrated humus and other synergistic compounds that release nutrients and chelate other nutrients, making them available for microbial growth and plant uptake.  Soil applications of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer in spring and fall are beneficial in promoting the processes that break down organic matter into humus and make nutrients available.  You can use compost and composted manure, leaf mulch, lawn clippings, wood chippings.   Though, when adding organic matter such as sawdust, wood chips or bark, you will need to add a supplementation of nitrogen, this provided in the 4-3-3s.

Photo of two berry busines mulches in garden.ORGANIC MATTER APPLICATIONS :::  Rates of Organic Matter to Apply

New Plantings i.e. First year…. (establishment of a new line of fruit trees, berry patch, fruit orchard, vineyard, etc.) 2 deep, 6.5 cu.yds./1,000 sq. ft. (270 cu.yds/ac.).

Tomatoes and Fruit Crops…. Less than 2%: 1 deep, 3.3 yds./1,000 sq. ft. (135 cu.yds./ac.).  2-3%: 1-2 deep, 1.5 yds./1,000 sq. ft. (68 cu.yds./ac.).  Over 3%: 1?4 deep, 0.75 yds./1,000 sq. ft. (34 cu.yds./ac.).

Orchards and Vineyards…… Less than 2%: 1-2 cu. ft./tree or vine (6-8 cu.yds./ac.) for mature plants.  2-3%: 0.5-1 cu. ft./tree or vine (46 cu.yds./ac.) for mature plants.  Over 3%: 0.25-0.5 cu. ft./tree or vine (2-3 cu.yds./ac.) for mature plants.

Garden Fruits such as cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, Bananas, Oil Palm
::: Less than 2%: Apply OM over the entire area. It needs to be 1 inch (2.5 cm), 3.3 yards/1,000 sq ft (3 m/93 sq m), or 135 yards/acre (305 m/ha). Add to top soil or till in shallow.
::: 2-3%: Apply OM over the entire area. It needs to be 0.5 inches (1.25 cm), 1.5 yards/1,000 sq ft (1.4 m/93 sq m), or 68 yards/acre (154 m/ha). Add to top soil or till in shallow.
::: Over 3%: Apply OM over the entire area. It needs to be 0.25 inches (0.68 cm) deep, 0.75 yards/1,000 sq ft (0.69 m/93 sq m), or 33 yards/acre (74 m/ha). Add to top soil or till in shallow.

Sources Naturally Rich In Nitrogen Fertilizer for Fruit Trees, Citrus Trees and Field Fruit Crops

NATURAL NITRATE NITROGEN  —  Fruit crops that are heavy feeders on nitrogen are fruit trees, especially new, non-bearing apple trees. Also grapes.  Light feeders of nitrogen fertilizer are vine fruit crops and strawberries.  Watch out for over applying nitrogen based fertilizers.  Excess nitrogen inhibits flowering and seed formation and reduces shelf-life, quality and produce flavor.  If too much nitrogen is present, luxury uptake by plants results in weak cell walls and watery tissue, causing the plants to become more susceptible to attacks from insects and disease-causing organisms.   As an essential component of chlorophyll, proteins, enzymes and hormones, nitrogen (N) is extremely important for plant growth.  Photo of heavy fruit bearing apple trees, several red, ripe apples on one branch.It is present throughout the protoplasm of the cells because it is involved in genetic transfer of information, which controls all the processes of plant growth.  Without an adequate supply of nitrogen, plant growth ceases, plants are stunted and will not pass through different successive stages in their development.  Hence, fish emulsion fertilizers for fruit.  Condensed fish soluble-based ingredients, or concentrated fish emulsions, use a strictly controlled, pressurized heating process to extract the raw materials necessary to make fertilizer and with only enough sulfuric acid to stabilize the product.  The fish emulsion fertilizers are more concentrated and uniform than hydrolysate-based fish fertilizers.  Fish emulsion fertilizer for fruit crops supplies highly concentrated nitrogen requirements.

FERTILIZATION OF NITROGEN FOR FRUIT CROPS:  Nitrogen does not exist as a mineral element in the soil.  It must be taken from the atmosphere, which is composed of approximately 78% nitrogen.  However, plants cannot use atmospheric nitrogen until it is fixed into an available form such as ammonium or nitrate by free bacteria, algae in the soil and through symbiotic bacteria in nodules contained in the roots of legumes such as alfalfa and beans.  Symbiotic bacteria that live in root nodules of leguminous plants have a two-way relationship with their hosts.  The bacteria called Rhizobia extract nutrients from the roots of their hosts and fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that is usable by their hosts and other plants.  Symbiotic bacteria are able to fix between 50-400 lbs. of nitrogen per acre per year, with 100 lbs. being the average.  By growing leguminous cover crops such as vetch, crimson clover or fababeans (which are properly inoculated with Rhizobia), at least 100 lbs./acre of nitrogen can be provided per year.  Free bacteria and algae that live in healthy soil can provide as much as 100 lbs./acre of nitrogen per year through fixation.  Soil is loosened by adjusting the soil chemistry through practices such as soil liming, enabling these free microbes to fix optimal amounts of nitrogen.

MORE ON FERTILIZATION…… Nitrogen use varies wildly between crops.  Most garden crops require 150-250 lbs. of nitrogen per year. Fruit tree crops and vineyard crops require 50-150 lbs. of nitrogen per year.  In a healthy system with balanced soil chemistry and optimal nitrogen fixation, the need is met with very little supplementation.  In toxified soils or soils with imbalanced soil chemistry
and minimal nitrogen fixation, the need for nitrogen must be supplemented through the addition of bulk amendments.  With toxified soils, it is best to start weaning the system off chemical nitrogen inputs to allow microbes and earthworms to begin making naturally-fixed nitrogen available.  At the same time the chemical inputs are being decreased, sustainable practices are implemented and higher levels of organic inputs are initially used.  With chemically imbalanced soils, begin by adjusting the soil chemistry through the use of lime, gypsum, sulfur and periodic soil testing to create the proper environment for optimal nitrogen fixation.  Sustainable practices must also be implemented, and higher levels of organic inputs must be initially used.  Fertilizer for fruit trees that are bearing is not necessarily a high nitrogen content.  Soil tests and a natural analysis needs to be considered before supplying nitrogen for fruit bearing trees.

NITROGEN APPLICATION: On chemically balanced soils that are not toxified, sustainable practices and moderate levels of organic inputs maintain a balanced, healthy system that supports prolific plant growth.  In addition to following the recommendations for balancing soil, sustainable practices stimulate microbial activity in the soil.  Crop rotation, cover cropping, minimum tillage and return of crop residue to the soil are all sustainable practices that should be used according to the constraints of your particular situation.  Plant-available nitrogen is also supplied to the soil through the addition of organic materials such as manures, composts, bloodmeal and cottonseed meal.  Apply these materials in broadcast applications before planting to provide nitrogen for the growing season.  To round off a nitrogen fertility program, apply fish emulsion fertilizer rich in nitrogen for fruit crops, the AGGRAND All Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 or Organic Series 4-3-3  in the row as a soil application at planting to stimulate microbial nitrogen fixation and provide nitrogen directly to the seedlings or transplants.  According to plant requirements, continue applying AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer to the soil and leaves with foliar feeding throughout the season.   Chemical fertilizers are artificial sources of nitrogen that are fixed through the Haber-Bosch process of reacting hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen under heat and pressure to form ammonium.  Or you can choose the nitrogen-rich fertilizer by AGGRAND with fish emulsions as the main component for the natural nitrogen sources which are readily available to plants.

Citrus trees and nitrogen ::: Citrus trees are heavy nitrogen feeders, so your fertilizer needs to contain more nitrogen than  Orange tree laden with ripe fruit.phosphorous and potassium.  Using at least a 2-1-1 or 4-3-3 nitrogen: phosphorus: potassium ratio meets requirements.  Also, the trace minerals of iron, zinc, and manganese must be in your citrus tree fertility program.  Kelp and other water soluble fertilizers can be used in foliar applications to supply trace minerals, being most effective if applied to half mature leaves.

More on Nitrogen Applications:

For moderate feeders such as fruit tree crops and vines:  ______Less than 30 ppm: Apply 50 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (1 ton/acre) of bloodmeal or 100 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (2 tons/acre) of cottonseed meal (do not use cottonseed meal when pH is below 6.8) in a broadcast application before planting. Apply compost or composted manure and AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer according to recommendations under organic matter. Water-in transplants or band 3 oz./20 ft. of row (3 gal./acre) of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer at planting.  Foliar feed with AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer throughout the season.

For light feeders such as apples, pears and vineyards: ______Less than 30 ppm: Apply 50 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (1 ton/acre) of bloodmeal or 100 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (2 tons/acre) of cottonseed meal (do not use cottonseed meal when pH is below 6.8) in a broadcast application before planting. Apply compost or composted manure and AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer according to recommendations under organic matter. Water-in transplants or band 3 oz./20 ft. of row (3 gal./acre) of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer at planting.  Foliar feed with AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer throughout the season.
For light feeders such as apples, pears and vineyards: ______20-30 ppm:   Apply 25 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (1,000 lbs./acre) of bloodmeal or 50 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (1 ton/ acre) of cottonseed meal (do not use cottonseed meal when pH is below 6.8) in a broadcast application before planting. Apply compost or composted manure according to recommendations under organic matter. Water-in transplants or band 3 oz./20-30 ft. of row (2-3 gal./acre) of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer. Foliar feed with AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer throughout the season.
For light feeders such as apples, pears and vineyards: ______More than 30 ppm:  Apply compost or composted manure according to recommendations under organic matter. Water-in transplants or band 3 oz./30 ft. of row (1-2 gal./acre) of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer. Foliar feed with AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer throughout the season.

Phosphorus Fertilizer Requirements for Fruit Trees and Plants Through Bonemeal and All Natural or Organic 4-3-3

Glorious ripe strawberries, blackberries, red raspberries in a pile on table.

Fertilizer for fruit such as berries can be high in phosphorus to support cell division and sugar formation. Sugar levels regulate the plant’s susceptibility to insect and disease attack and determine fruit quality and shelf life.  Soft fruits like berries are especially vulnerable to short shelf life.

PHOSPHORUS  —  Phosphorus (P) is the power broker.  Phosphorus controls root, seed and flower development.  Controls the processes of cell division and sugar formation. Sugar levels regulate the plant’s susceptibility to insect and disease attack and determine fruit quality and shelf life.  The ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecule releases the energy required for plant growth when it is reduced to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) in the root cells where respiration takes place.   Low soil test levels dictate the need to add phosphorus to the soil profile, which can be accomplished with the addition of soft rock phosphate or bonemeal once every 2-3 years. When used in conjunction with the application of organic matter and planting of legumes, phosphorus becomes more plant available.

FRUIT FERTILIZATION FOR PHOSPHORUS: AGGRAND Liquid Bonemeal 0-12-0 and both choices of the AGGRAND Natural or Organic 4-3-3 Fertilizer supply phosphorus, and are most effective when banded at planting and during early development and the prebloom stage of foliar applications.  Water in transplants or apply by dribbling them into a trench below and to the side of the seed at planting.  For foliar applications, apply AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 or Organic 4-3-3 when plants are 3-6 tall; apply as a fine mist with enough fertilizer to cover the leaves. To stimulate prolific flowering, add AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer as a fine mist.  Some crops are sensitive to nitrogen applied at this stage, which may inhibit flowering and reduce fruit quality (apples are especially sensitive).  On these crops, it may be beneficial to substitute AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash 0-0-8.

PHOSPHORUS APPLICATIONS: For tree fruits and grapes, if P1 is below 30 ppm: Apply 50 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (2,000 lbs./acre) of colloidal phosphate every 2-3 years and apply 3 oz. of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and 2 oz. of AGGRAND Liquid Bonemeal/1,000 sq. ft. (3 gal. Natural Fertilizer and 2 gal. Liquid Bonemeal/acre) as a soil application in early spring or fall after harvest.  ______For tree fruits and grapes, if P1 is 30-40 ppm: Apply 25 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (1,000 lbs./acre) of colloidal phosphate every 2-3 years and apply 3 oz. of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and 1 oz. of AGGRAND Liquid Bonemeal/1,000 sq. ft. (3 gal. Natural Fertilizer and 1 gal. Liquid Bonemeal/acre) as a soil application in early spring or fall after harvest.  ______For tree fruits and grapes, if P1 is 40-60 ppm:  Apply 10 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (400 lbs./acre) of colloidal phosphate every 2-3 years and apply 3 gal. AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer/1,000 sq. ft. or in the field apply 3 gal.  AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer /acre as a soil application in early spring or fall after harvest.  ______For tree fruits and grapes, if P1 is above 60 ppm: No additional phosphorus is needed except what is applied with standard applications.


FORM and CATALOG

Potassium in the Fertilizer for Fruit Comes from Sulfate of Potash, Kelp, Wood Ashes and Composted Manure

POTASSIUM  —  When your goal is more fruit from bearing trees, bushes and plants, fruit fertilizer higher in phosphorous and potassium than in nitrogen is the best decision.   Heavy demands for potassium come from apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, cucumbers, tomatoes and especially grapes.  Potassium (K) is the universal helper that flows throughout the plant, regulating osmotic balance, opening and closing of stomates and cell turgor pressure, while stimulating rooting, photosynthesis, chlorophyll formation, starch formation and trans-location of sugars.  Adequate potassium levels reduce plant susceptibility to insect and disease attack.  Potassium can become tightly held in the crystalline clay lattice of the soil. Loose non-compacted soils with adequate levels of organic matter are rarely low in available potassium. Practices that stimulate microbial activity, including addition of crop residue, cover cropping and broadcast applications of fish-kelp based fertilizers, release unavailable potassium.

FRUIT FERTILIZATION FOR POTASSIUM:  Low soil test levels indicate the need for potassium fertilization, especially in soils with low cation exchange capacity (CEC) and low organic matter levels.  The addition of wood ashes, sulfate of potash, kelp meal and composted manure increase soil potassium levels.   These help unless, of course you are avoiding the acidic addition for fruits such as blueberries.  If soil cation exchange capacity and organic matter levels are low, follow recommendations for increasing organic matter levels to increase potassium availability and soil test levels.  In addition to using potassium fertilizers and organic matter, applications of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer also stimulate release of potassium.

POTASSIUM APPLICATIONS:  For details on fruit and crops, see the 12-page Soil Fertility Guide by AGGRAND.  Follow application guidelines under soil organic matter for applying AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer or AGGRAND Organic Series 4-3-3 to stimulate potassium release.  Banded applications of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash supply potassium directly to the root zone.  These fertilizers are banded in varying rates depending on potassium fertility and crop demands.  Perennial fruit crops require higher levels of potassium than other crops.  To increase potassium availability during early growth and development, water in transplants or apply AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer by dribbling into a trench below and to the side of the seed at planting.  The addition of AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash will further increase potassium availability.  In the field, apply AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer as a band at planting, and add AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash to further increase potassium availability.  Dilute with enough water to allow even flow rate and distribution when using liquid banding equipment (1:1/1:3 water/AGGRAND ratio is usually sufficient).  Foliar applications of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash supply potassium directly through the leaves.  Apply when plants are 3-6 tall, at prebloom and again during fruit fill.  Use the same rates as banded applications; dilute into a 1-4% solution with water, and apply as a fine mist with enough mixture to thoroughly cover the leaves.

 

Sulfur As the Fourth Major Nutrient Fruit Cannot Deny

SULFUR  —  Although sulfur (S) is considered a secondary macronutrient but is basically the fourth major nutrient.  It is actually found in higher levels than phosphorus in some crops and comparable levels in others.  Sulfur in fertilizer for fruit growth has many important functions and must be present in sufficient amounts in the soil and plant tissue for plants to realize the benefits of nitrogen and potassium.  Sulfur helps produce higher-quality fruits and tree fruits.  Sulfur is used in the formation of many amino acids and is an essential element in the production of certain proteins and enzymes.  Sulfur is required in the production of chlorophyll and serves a vital role in the reduction process in the chloroplasts.  It has a significant role in nitrate reduction and the assimilation of free nitrogen (N2) by root nodule bacteria.

SULFUR FERTILITY AS APPLIES TO FRUIT FERTILIZERS:  Soil tests for sulfur are only accurate for sandy soils.  The major source of sulfur in soil is organic matter.  Adequate sulfur is provided by increasing organic matter levels through the addition of compost or composted manures and by growing leguminous cover crops.  Sulfur can be provided through soil applications of bulk amendments, including gypsum (calcium sulfate) and sulfate of potash when soil test levels are low.   When calcium levels are also low, use gypsum.  When potassium levels are also low, use sulfate of potash.

SULFUR APPLICATIONS:  Mostly, sulfate is susceptible to leaching on sandy soils so sulfur deficiency is more common in sandy, low-organic matter soils.   When a sulfur deficiency is known the sulfate form of sulfur is the preferred form to use as a fertilizer.  AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 and the Organic Series 4-3-3, both of which include Kelp with Sulfate of Potash, and the AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash contain usable amounts of sulfur in the sulfate form for foliar feeding of sulfur-hungry crops. 

Fertilizers for Fruit to Balance Soil pH Are Usually Calcium Requirements

BALANCED SOIL pH  —  A low soil pH means acidic soil that blueberries love.  But it does not mean adding lime or coffee grounds or wood ash for other fruits.  A low soil pH means more likely than not that your crops are in need of calcium.   Yes, the lime will add calcium and magnesium but it is not a given anecdote.  Consider the calcium / phosphorus from liquid bonemeal in a slow-release and fast-release form.  Consider the calcium from liquid kelp concentrate,  that packs a punch and supports your crop in the onslaught of pest infestations and disease, frost, drought and heat waves.  Why?  Because you get so much more.   The kelp is in both the 4-3-3 choices, organic or all natural and these work to neutralize the soil too.  You have natural and powerful choices here.   Photo of greenhouse tomatoes, red ripe on vine.

A little chemistry too.  Soil pH measures the balance between hydrogen ions and ions of the base elements (cations), including calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.  The pH is an indicator of this balance, not a cause of an imbalance.  When the pH is not in the optimum range, the base elements must be evaluated.  A pH of 7.0 is neutral, a pH below 7.0 is considered acidic and a pH above 7.0 is considered alkaline.  Most plants and all soil life proliferate when the soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.8, or slightly acid.  Soils low in organic matter and in high rainfall regions tend to be acidic.

pH BALANCE APPLICATIONS:  Because the addition of organic matter neutralizes soil pH (adjusts the pH closer to 7.0) over time, any soil with a pH below 6.0 or above 7.0 must have organic matter applied at least once per year.  The use of cover crops, the application of high quality compost, the return of crop residue and the application of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 or Organic Series 4-3-3 work together to neutralize soil pH.  AGGRAND All Natural Liquid Lime may be needed, or AGGRAND All Natural Liquid Bonemeal, both providing calcium for soil.  Soils with a pH below 6.0 are also deficient in one of the cations, usually calcium.  Potassium and magnesium may also be deficient, but in most cases, adding calcium is recommended on acidic soils unless the soil for the fruit crop requires acidic results.   Soils with a pH above 7.0 contain excessive salt levels.  Salts are the compounds of cations (commonly sodium) and anions (commonly chloride, sulfate and carbonate).  The application of gypsum, sulfur or sulfate used in conjunction with leaching and the addition of organic matter remove the salts and lower soil pH.  Follow individual recommendations under calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium (if pH is below 6.0 or above 7.0) to adjust soil pH.  

Hydrogen for Fruit Through Water by Balanced pH

HYDROGEN  —  Hydrogen (H) is supplied to plants and soil life through water (H20). Soils with a pH below 7.0 contain mobile hydrogen.  Hydrogen levels are maintained by keeping the soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8.  Read the section under pH for more details on maintaining soil pH in the optimum range.

Blueberries and blackberries in a bowl.

In adding calcium fertilizer for fruit, more is not better because micronutrients may become unavailable if too much calcium is added at once. Natural calcium content is better though, provided through liquid bonemeal with phosphorus too, or liquid lime as a calcium supplement.

 

Calcium Fertilizer for Fruit Trees, Citrus, Berries, Grapes, Tomatoes

CALCIUM  —   Blueberries, tomatoes and apples with bitter pit can be affected by calcium deficiencies.  Although calcium (Ca) is considered a secondary macronutrient, it is the most important element in a number of ways.  Calcium forms stable soil aggregates, giving the soil the structural capacity to hold nutrients and absorb water and air, promoting prolific microbial and earthworm activity.  Calcium also blocks entry of unwelcome invaders, neutralizes toxins, provides a component for cell walls and assists in root development, movement of carbohydrates, protein synthesis and reproductive tissue production.  Soils low in calcium usually have poor structure, reducing water penetration and the holding capacities for nutrient, air and water.  These conditions stress plants and increase susceptibility to insect attack and disease-causing organisms.  Excessive magnesium and low calcium tend to compound the situation by further tightening the soil (clay-like) and making it more anaerobic.

CALCIUM FERTILIZATION IN FRUIT CROPS:  Once the appropriate calcium source for the particular soil has been selected, use the chart on the AGGRAND Soil Fertility Guide to determine how much of the amendment to apply.  Also, you are welcome to call us and we will work with the AGGRAND crop advisers and techs to set the soil right.   More is not better because micronutrients may become unavailable if too much calcium is added at once.  On sandy soils, split into three or four applications; on heavier soils, split into two or three applications.  The soil should be retested again in 2-3 years to determine how much the calcium level has increased (it takes time for the calcium to diffuse throughout the soil; it takes less time when the calcium is tilled into the soil profile).  If your soil test report shows a number higher than the optimum level on the chart, calcium levels are sufficient, but micronutrients may become unavailable.  Apply compost according to recommendations under organic matter, and apply elemental sulfur or sulfate if nutrient deficiencies become apparent (stunting, chlorosis between leaf veins, leaf deformities or curling).  For calcium to be removed, see guide and call for assistance when needed.

CALCIUM APPLICATIONS — DETERMINED BY CALCIUM LEVEL SOIL TESTS:  Soil liming increases calcium levels on acidic soils.  As the soil pH drops (below 7.0 is acidic), calcium availability decreases.  Adding lime to the soil increases pH and calcium over time. If the soil is high in magnesium, calcitic lime (high calcium lime) is applied.  If the soil is low in magnesium, dolomitic lime (dolomite) is applied.  If magnesium and calcium levels are low, adhere to the recommendations under magnesium fertilization.  Once the magnesium reaches an adequate level, apply only calcitic lime.  If the soil is alkaline (pH is above 7.0), the best calcium material to use is gypsum (calcium sulfate).  In most cases, calcium levels in alkaline soils are sufficient, but the pH must be lowered to increase calcium availability since it is locked up in salts such as calcium phosphate.  Gypsum supplies calcium, but does not lower soil pH.  Before gypsum is applied, soils with pH levels over 8.0 must be treated with sulfur or sulfate to lower the pH.  If calcium levels are low, use bulk calcium amendments and apply AGGRAND products that supply calcium through foliar applications and banding in the row.  AGGRAND Liquid Lime and Liquid Bonemeal both have high calcium levels.  If calcium and phosphorus levels are low, or additional calcium and phosphorus is required (such as with tomatoes), use AGGRAND Liquid Bonemeal at planting in the row and as a foliar feed.   For physiological disorders related to calcium deficiency, such as blossom end rot in tomatoes and bitter pit in apples, foliar calcium sprays may be beneficial.  Where the soil pH has been adjusted to 6.0 or above and additional soil applied calcium does not correct these disorders, they can be related to excessive ammonium fertilization and even excess or lack of water.  Foliar applications of high calcium fertilizers such as AGGRAND Liquid Lime and AGGRAND All Natural Liquid Bonemeal could correct the issues.

Magnesium In Excess Creates Those Clay-like Soils

MAGNESIUM  —  Magnesium (Mg) is considered a secondary macronutrient.  Because the chlorophyll molecule is built around an atom of magnesium, this element is essential for plant growth and survival.  Although most soils in the U.S. contain adequate levels of magnesium, a few highly-leached areas in the eastern U.S. require additional magnesium.  It is more common to find situations where magnesium is high
to excessive.  Soils with high to excessive magnesium levels are described as clays (the stickiest, heaviest clays are often described as gumbos) because magnesium is part of the crystalline lattice in the clay fraction of the soil.  For information on alleviating low magnesium in your orchard, vineyard and fruit fields, read the details at AGGRAND SOIL FERTILITY GUIDE, a pdf.

 

Proper Organic Matter Best Guarantee for Adequate Micronutrients for Fruit Crops

MICRONUTRIENTS FOR FRUIT CROPS  —  Essential plant nutrients required in smaller amounts than the primary macronutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, in that order for the numbers — and the secondary macronutrients — calcium, magnesium, sulfur — are considered micronutrients.  Zinc, manganese, iron, boron, copper, chloride and molybdenum are essential elements for plant growth, and other elements such as cobalt, selenium, silicon and vanadium appear to have functions in promoting microbial activity and nitrogen fixation or synergistic functions in promoting plant growth.  Although micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients, the maintenance of a healthy plant growth system usually supplies enough of these elements.  Proper organic matter management is the best way to guarantee adequate availability of micronutrients.  Our banner on fertilizer for fruit - images are orchards, raspberries, blueberries and black raspberries, greenhouse tomatoes plus the AGGRAND liquid fertilizers. Reads: LIQUID FERTILIZERS FORMULATED FOR FOLIAR FEED AND SOIL APPLICATIONS ORGANIC SERIES 4-3-3 ALL NATURAL 4-3-3 ORGANIC KELP BONEMEAL & LIME PRICES & INFO Totes, drums, pails, units. AGGRAND fertilizers are seldom sold in stores. Choose retail prices, PC wholesale prices or commercial business use. Click for store.

MICRONUTRIENT APPLICATIONS:  The addition of compost and composted manures, used in conjunction with the application of AGGRAND fertilizer products, meets the need for micronutrients.  In order to supply sufficient amounts of organic matter to the soil, follow recommendations under organic matter.  Soil testing for macronutrients indicates how to balance the soil chemistry to a great extent.  Once the base elements are balanced and sufficient organic matter is added to the soil, it may be beneficial to test for micronutrients in order to fine tune the system.  For specific recommendations on micronutrients, see the separate AGGRAND guide on micronutrients.  AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash contain micronutrients.  Adequate amounts of micronutrients can be supplied by using soil and foliar applications of these products according to the recommendations in this guide.  Should a micronutrient deficiency become apparent on a specific fruit crop even after AGGRAND foliar applications, it may be necessary to use tissue analysis to determine where the deficiency lies.  To correct a particular deficiency, a specific amendment can be applied (usually at very low levels compared to other amendments) to the foliage to correct the deficiency.

Iron Supplementation Fertilizers for Fruits, A long list of fruits

IRON  —  Citrus trees, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes are fruits which may need applications of iron if deficient.     Iron availability is more telling in the soil pH than in testing for iron levels.  Alkaline soil conditions with the pH greater than 7.2 can make iron unavailable for plant roots.  Iron must be converted to ferrous form before it can be absorbed by plant roots.  If the soil pH is above 7.2 and interveinal chlorosis is apparent, then a foliar application of iron chelate may be beneficial.  Selecting crop varieties that are resistant to iron chlorosis is beneficial too.  Early stage applications are more beneficial than later in the season.  More than one foliar spray is usually required.  For blueberries the soil pH can be lowered to 5.2 or even less to correct iron chlorosis disorders.  A closeup of red raspberries picked for table.

 

Boron Supplementation for An Even Longer List of Fruit – Sandy soil leaching your boron?

BORON —  Boron applications may be needed for fruits of apples, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, squash, watermelon, muskmelon and rhubarb. blueberries.  This is a perfect example of the organic matter needs in plants, something so simple can cause a boron deficiency.  Boron deficiency is most likely on sandy soils low in organic matter.  Boron is taken up by plant roots.  Leaching may be an issue from excessive rainfall or irrigation.  Use a soil test to determine suspected boron deficiency because excessive boron added as a fertilizer can be highly toxic to plants.  For in-season correction of boron deficiency, foliar sprays can be applied and multiple applications are usually required.

 

Manganese Can Opt Out in Organic Soils Higher than 5.8 pH

MANGANESE  —  Fruit crops needing manganese are raspberries, strawberries, berries, apples, grapes, citrus trees, tomatoes and cucumbers.  Manganese in soils is manganese oxide or hydroxide.  Soil pH relates manganese availability more than using a soil test. On low pH mineral soils at less than 4.8, manganese can be toxic to plants.   Deficiencies can occur in fruit crops grown on alkaline mineral soils but the manganese deficiencies are more likely to occur on organic soils with a pH greater than 5.8.  Chelated sources of manganese are
recommended for foliar spays.

 

Seldom Needed Copper, Nickel, Zinc, Molybdenum Supplementation in Fertilizers for Fruit

COPPER  —  Fruit seldom needs a copper application.  Copper is often a soil deficiency, especially in organic soils.  Soil tests for copper are reliable only for organic soils.  Soil applications and foliar sprays to apply copper can be used to correct suspected deficiencies.  Tomatoes, apples, strawberries, blueberries and cucumbers are a medium response to copper deficiencies.

NICKEL  —  Fruit trees and field crops, even vineyards that are grown in peat soil or potting soil are susceptible to nickel deficiency.  High zinc can create nickel deficiency.  Requirements for nickel are low.   Adequate levels of nickel are usually present in most soils.  Potted fruit trees and berry plants showing nickel deficiency can be corrected with sulfate additions but high nickel levels can prove toxic to plants.

Clusters of ripe grapes in vineyard.

ZINC  —  Apples, grapes, citrus trees and tomatoes are listed to have a medium response to the deficiency of zinc. 

MOLYBDENUM  —  Tomatoes may be affected by a deficiency.  Molybdenum deficiencies may occur on acid sandy soils and acid peats.  Vegetable cole crops are particularly susceptible to molybdenum deficiency.  Fruit crops are seldom affected.   Liming soils from 6.0 to 6.5 pH is an effective method to correct molybdenum deficiencies.   Do not over apply molybdenum as high rates can be toxic to animals.

 

Dealing With Excess Sodium In Fruit Crops

SODIUM  —  Although sodium is an essential micronutrient, it is never applied as a fertilizer because it is never deficient in the soil. Excessive sodium, however, is a common problem, especially in arid regions and potting media.  Excessive sodium inhibits microbial
activity and causes plant damage or even death. Salty manures  and organic composts from these can result in excessive sodium.

Fruit Crop Troubleshooting On Sodium Fertility:  Soils high in organic matter are less affected by sodium.  The addition of organic matter to western soils decreases the probability of plant damage from soil sodium.  When high levels of sodium are present in the soil, do not add any salty amendments such as salt-based chemical fertilizers like ammonium nitrate or potassium chloride.  Because use of salty manures can also be problematic, it is better to apply high quality compost, composted horse manure or pig manure instead of cow or chicken manure.  Growing cover crops is one of the best ways to deal with soils high in sodium.  The roots loosen the soil and the additional organic matter helps disperse the sodium so it can be flushed.

SODIUM ALLEVIATING APPLICATIONS:  When excess sodium is present, it should be leached from the soil periodically by applying calcium in the form of gypsum (calcium sulfate).  Broadcast the gypsum evenly over the soil at least twice a year.  Once applied, the sodium salt that forms must be leached from the soil with fresh water.  After the gypsum has been applied several times, retest the soil to determine if it requires more.  Because it may be very difficult to solve this problem if only salty irrigation water is available, it may be necessary to grow salt-tolerant crops.  The application of humates and sodium-eating microbes aids sodium removal from the soil.  Humates are broadcast-applied once per year in the granular form to aid in the dispersion of sodium, while microbial products especially formulated for reducing soil sodium can be sprayed onto the soil.  Aerobically-digested compost also inoculates the soil with microbes.  AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer contains synergistic compounds that disperse sodium and promote microbial activity.  Apply AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer twice per year as a spray broadcast application on soils high in sodium.  For details, see the AGGRAND Soil Fertility Guide.


FORM and CATALOG

STOREFRONT for PRICES AND SIZES  —  Fertilizer for Fruit Trees and Fruit Crops by AGGRAND

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