FERTILIZING FRUIT TREES


Fertilizing fruit trees with liquid natural and organic fertilizers is a more gentle application.  This article discusses foliar application for fertilizing crops in all ranges of growth and production.  Also the visual and soil test analysis for growth ranges you desire in your fruit trees and how to task the next fertilization.  Here is a table of contents to lead the way.

  1. GROWTH RANGES DESIRED WHEN FERTILIZING FRUIT TREES
  2. FERTILIZING APPLE TREES
  3. Renovating and Fertilizing Old Apple Trees
  4. Fertilizer Applications for the Apple Trees – Foliar, Soil,
  5. FERTILIZING CITRUS TREES
  6.  Nitrogen and Growth Factors for Fruit Trees
  7. Fertilizer Adjustments Especially Needed for Nitrogen on Bearing Trees
  8. The visual indicators for more or less nitrogen, based on physical attributes of an apple tree, and can be used with most fruit trees.
  9. AGGRAND CROP GUIDE
  10. Foliar Spray PDF – Information on foliar applications using AGGRAND Liquid Fertilizers for Fertilizing Fruit Trees
  11. Not Using Foliar Spray?  Soil Application Not Enough Though?  Try drilling….
  12. Deep Root Feeding Fruit Trees and Fruit Bushes

GROWTH RANGES DESIRED WHEN FERTILIZING FRUIT TREES

Fertilizing fruit trees, in particular, is a fine balancing art.  The application of fertilizer to fruit trees is essential for maintaining adequate tree growth and good fruit production but excessive fertilization could result in shading and poor spray coverage resulting from the lush growth which results in poor fruit quality.  While not enough fertilizer means a decrease of tree vigor, fruit production and and fruit quality.  Still, fruit trees need to be fertilized every year.  And when planted especially, apply fertilizer around three weeks after the trees are set.  Established fruit trees can have fertilizers applied around a month prior to the start of growth in spring.  Many details on fertilizing fruit crops are included on this page and lead off pages including a 12-page brochure, a 24-page crop guide and several articles.  Use the Table of Contents for orientation on fruit fertilizers.  A chart is below too.

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

FERTILIZING APPLE TREES

When you learn about fertilizing apple trees, you will hear everything from just water weekly to use grass clippings and some compost.  Who has that much compost if they are fertilizing more than a few trees, the rest of their garden and fruit field crops?  Organic and all natural fertilizers are a good choice.  Liquid fertilizer makes an efficient and quite effective result, especially in using foliar spray applications on apple trees.   We are accustomed to large sweet fruit from apple trees now, except the Granny, but apple trees are prone to bitter pits and sour fruit if not fertilized. The wild apples native of Central Asia were small and sour, the wild apples across North America that were gifted to American colonists by England and France are wormy and a weird roundness. So you have a challenge cultivating an old one, but it can be done. More on that soon.  Apple trees were first probably cultivated by the Romans so you are carrying on practice from eons ago.

New apple transplants, take it easy, plant with roots spread out, add some compost to the hole, make a ‘trench’ around the tree about 18-inches away for more water to be absorbed instead of run off, mulch but leave six inches away from the bark so mice cannot eat the tree.  Fertilize in a few weeks.  New trees need more fertilizer so they reach their potential growth, listed below.  The fertilizer applications for each apple tree are included here.


FORM and CATALOG

Let’s talk apple orchards and apple tree fertilizer, especially for nitrogen requirements.   Usually, nitrogen management for apple trees provides a relatively high nitrogen application earlier in the season.  This will encourage rapid leaf development, fruit set, and flower bud formation while allowing the nitrogen to decline gradually as the fruiting season moves along.  The early application of nitrogen tends to enhance favor, fruit color, and tree hardening.  Annual leaf analysis is the best source for knowing what the orchard requirements are though.

Renovating and Fertilizing Old Apple Trees

As you decide whether to keep the old tree or plant a semi-dwarf new apple tree, ask yourself…. if the apple tree trunk has major holes or a rotten center…. is there minimal limb die back… what about signs of disease…. does your home, lawn and garden plan suit the location of the tree…. is the variety of fruit what you want…. will you be able and willing to prune, spray and fertilize this old apple tree?

Now for fertilizer. Even the old apple tree, too much nitrogen could cause issues.  You hear it over and over…. nitrogen fertilizer needs to be applied with caution.  And in an old apple tree recently pruned within an inch of its life, too much nitrogen can make for excessive young vegetative regrowth, so unless the old tree literally was nearly dead before the severe pruning, withhold nitrogen during the refurbishing stage.”  All natural kelp fertilizer and a bonemeal will suit better to rejuvenate an old apple tree.   Renovating and fertilizing old apple trees video and info…    and here is a more in-depth consideration on “to save the old apple tree” or “not to save.”   Plus here is a place searching out old heirloom and lost varieties of apple trees, if you know any.  Our website banner for AGGRAND Liquid Kelp - shows a ripe Fuji apple on tree, grown organic, and an organic garden. Also image of AGGRAND kelp jug and a 55-gallon drum. Reads, click for online store, seldom sold in stores, Retail or preferred customer discounts to 25%.

Fertilizer Applications for the Apple Trees – Foliar, Soil,

Foliar Applications: Per-acre mix ratio:  1 gallon AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer to 50 gallons of water (depending on tree density, spray equipment and canopy volume).  Apply after the leaves open. Repeat after bloom if the trees require more nitrogen.

After fruit set and before final harvest per acre:  2 quarts AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash to 50 gallons of water and apply after fruit set. Repeat 3-4 weeks before final harvest.

How to vary rates:  Rates vary according to soil fertility and other inputs used.  Lower dilution rates are more effective than higher dilution rates.  Two or three applications may be more effective than one heavy application.  If other constraints only allow one trip over the field, do not exceed a 3% dilution rate (3 gallons AGGRAND fertilizers to 97 gallons water).

Kelp for Insect and Disease Resistance:  To reduce susceptibility to attack of insects and disease-causing organisms, apply a per-acre mixture of 1 quart AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash and 50 gallons of water when signs of infestation become apparent.

Soil Applications: Per-acre mix ratio: 3 gallons AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer to 30 gallons of water. Apply in spring and fall if soil is hard and low in organic matter. If bitter pit is a problem, add 1 gallon of AGGRAND Natural Liquid Lime to the spray tank to supply additional calcium.

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FERTILIZING CITRUS TREES

Using liquid, all natural fertilizers for a gentle approach to growth, drought, frost, cold, heat and disease resistance and strengthening the citrus orchard / trees to be less susceptible to insect infestation.   Citrus fruits are heavy nitrogen feeders.

Foliar Applications for Citrus Trees:  Foliar application of AGGRAND fertilizers can correct many micronutrient deficiencies and increase citrus crops’ tolerance of drought, heat and cold. When done as a part of the early bloom, summer and fall spray programs, foliar application of AGGRAND fertilizers is often effective in reducing the number of insect pests.

Foliar Per-acre mix ratio1 gallon AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and 40 gallons of water.  Apply as a fine mist with enough solution to thoroughly cover the leaves of citrus trees. Apply with pre-bloom, post-bloom and summer sprays.  Optimize results by adding 1 quart AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash to the mix.

To increase the shelf-life of citrus fruit:  Apply a per-acre mixture of 1 quart AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash and 25 gallons of water one to two months before harvest.

To increase penetration of the citrus leaf cuticle: Add 1 pint fulvic acid to the spray tank along with the AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and AGGRAND Natural Kelp and Sulfate of Potash.

Rates Vary:  Rates vary according to soil fertility, cropping history and other inputs that are available. Lower dilution rates are more effective than higher dilution rates. Two or three lighter applications may be more effective than one heavy application. If other constraints only allow one trip over the field, do not exceed 3 percent dilution rate (3 gallons AGGRAND Fer citrus-fertilizertilizer to 97 gallons of water).

Citrus Insects and Disease Resistance:  To reduce susceptibility to attack of insects and disease-causing organisms, apply a per-acre mixture of 1 gallon of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and 20 gallons of water when signs of infestation become apparent.

Soil Applications Per-acre mix ratio: Mix 2-3 gallons of AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 and 50-75 gallons of water. Apply in spring and fall.

Citrus Root Applications:   Apply with irrigation water 2-4 times per month from pre-bloom periods to one month after harvest (apply more often on lighter soils with low organic matter content). When applying AGGRAND fertilizers with irrigation water use a dilution rate that results in 6-20 gallons of fertilizer per acre/year.

General Applications for Citrus Crops:  Apply 0.5-1.5 quarts per tree, per year or 12-45 gallons per acre, per year (rates depend on tree population, soil fertility and the use of cover crops and application of compost or manure). The total amount includes soil and foliar applications.

Organic Matter and Compost for Citrus Fertilizing In Desert Soils:  The application of compost and composted manure and the incorporation of green manure crops improves soil structure, nutrient- and water-holding capacity of desert soils.  Annual medics (medicago spp) such as barrel medic (medicago trancatula), strand medic (m.littoralis) and snail medic (m. scutellata) are low-growing and adapted to neutral to alkaline soils.  These species will grow during the cool season and go to seed before summer.  They add organic matter and nitrogen to the soil and must be kept short by mowing to 3-5” in height.  The soil factors for organic citrus production in desert climates look at the coarser textured soils that provide good drainage will produce the highest yields.  But citrus production is also possible with finer textured soils offering good drainage.

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 Nitrogen and Growth Factors for Fruit Trees

Nitrogen deficiency is most frequently growth-limiting.  Here are your growth rates for non-bearing and bearing non-citrus fruit trees, apple, pear, peach nectarine, plum, cherry.   Note: Fertilize pear trees at one-half the basic rate.

  • Apple Trees — Non-bearing is 15 to 30 inches.
  • Apple Trees — Bearing, non-spur type is at least 6 to 8 inches, but more preferably 12 to 18 inches.
  • Apple Trees — Bearing, spur type 6 to 10 inches
  • Apple Trees — Also a 3/4 inch elongation on non-fruiting spurs.
  • Pear Trees — Non-bearing 15 to 30 inches.
  • Pear Trees — Bearing 12 to 16 inches.
  • Plum Trees — Non-bearing 22 to 36 inches
  • Plum Trees — Bearing about 8 inches.
  • Sweet Cherry — Non-bearing 22 to 36 inches
  • Sweet Cherry — Bearing about 8 inches.
  • Tart Cherry — Non-bearing 12 to 24 inches.
  • Tart Cherry — Bearing about 8 inches.
  • Peach Trees — Non-bearing is 18 to 24 inches.
  • Peach Trees — Bearing is 12 to 18 inches.
  • Nectarine Trees — Non-bearing is 18 to 24 inches.
  • Nectarine Trees — Bearing is 12 to 18 inches.

Fertilizer Adjustments Especially Needed for Nitrogen on Bearing Trees

You may need to be adjust the basic fertilizer application, though this depends soil testing and/or the growth and fruiting of the tree the previous year.  You can fertilize more heavier than a basic application with organic and all natural fertilizers the trees that are resulting with less growth than indicated above.  But if the tree growth is excessive, then you can reduce the basic application rate for bringing fruit tree growth back to more desirable results.

Let’s talk apple orchards, apple tree fertilizer, especially for nitrogen requirements.   Usually, nitrogen management for apple trees provides a relatively high nitrogen application earlier in the season.  This will encourage rapid leaf development, fruit set, and flower bud formation while allowing the nitrogen to decline gradually as the fruiting season moves along.  The early application of nitrogen tends to enhance favor, fruit color, and tree hardening.  Annual leaf analysis is the best source for knowing what the orchard requirements are though.

The visual indicators for more or less nitrogen, based on physical attributes of an apple tree, and can be used with most fruit trees.

  • Fruit bearing trees, if fruit color development is delayed, nitrogen level is too high.
  • Both fruit size and fruit firmness are influenced by nitrogen, size increases with higher nitrogen level.
  • Soft apple crops for eating apples have a lower optimum nitrogen content than those intended for processing.
  • Nitrogen is a major factor for shoots which indicate vigor of the tree.  Higher nitrogen uptake encourages the apple tree to produce longer annual terminal growth which is desirable in new plantings and not for established, bearing trees.  See desired growth in chart on this page.
  • Leaf nitrogen is higher from trees with heavier apple crops.

 

AGGRAND CROP GUIDE

AGGRAND natural fertilizers are popular for consumers looking for environmentally friendly products that enhance crops and soils.  AGGRAND offers a safe and cost-effective line of natural liquid fertilizers

Booklet cover shows wheat, apples, tomatoes, cucmbers, hay, golf course, potatoes and beans.

The products are convenient and free of chemicals and synthetics.  These are a safe, effective alternative to high analysis chemical fertilizers.  The highest quality ingredients are used in AGGRAND products to give the best results and are formulated to give excellent results when used for foliar feeding and root feeding on fruit trees.  In addition, they build the soil for prolific root growth and enhanced top growth. 

AGGRAND Technical Service Department is available at (715) 399-6419.  When you contact us, we will be able to consult with the AGGRAND team as needed, including a Certified Crop Advisor CCA.  The dedicated technicians will work with us to assist you in developing and fine tuning your farming and gardening practices according to their specific needs.

Foliar Spray PDF – Information on foliar applications using AGGRAND Liquid Fertilizers for Fertilizing Fruit Trees

By using AGGRAND fertilizers as a foliar spray application for fruit trees, you are increasing the benefits, effectiveness and even the pest preventative advantage of your fertilizer.   Foliar feeding has been compared by our crop advisers, technicians and scientists at AGGRAND.  In that you are applying the water soluble fruit fertilizers on the leaf surfaces, the plants are able to absorb readily available nutrients by their stems and leaves.  This is proven to be absorbed up to twenty times quicker than through soil applications.  The advantages are pest resistance, fungus resistance, compensation for low fertility, low soil temperatures, stress from drought, wind, heat spells, quicker ripening, ‘sweeter’ fruit and longer shelf life of your fruit crop too.  Read the PDF while thinking Fruit Fertilizer and Foliar Spray for details.


FORM and CATALOG

 

 

 

Not Using Foliar Spray?  Soil Application Not Enough Though?  Try drilling….

Deep Root Feeding Fruit Trees and Fruit Bushes

This is the same application process as for trees and shrubs, but can be done for fruit trees and field bushes such as blueberries, should you choose not to foliar feed and the fertilizer is not being absorbed from soil applications due to deep turf issues.

Then deep root feeding in early spring or autumn is an effective means of providing necessary nutrients for fruit trees and bushes.  The ideal fertilizer for deep root feeding is a low salt, liquid product that contains slow-release chelated macronutrients and micronutrients such as AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer.

In many cases, turf grasses absorb the surface application of fertilizer before it can penetrate into the root zone of these woody perennial fruit trees and bushes.  That is why the upper sod layer must be disturbed to allow the fertilizer to penetrate into the root system.  When performing deep root feeding by injection or through bored holes in the soil, a grid pattern should be established every 2 or 3 feet starting at least a foot away from the base of the tree or shrub and extending one or two feet outside the drip line.

Several application methods are used for deep root feeding which involve penetrating the root zone around the drip line of the fruit tree or bush where the feeder roots form a circle 2 to 4 feet wide around the drip line.

  • DRILL IN APPLICATION METHOD # 1 — Pierce, dig or drill a number of one to two inch diameter holes in the ground six inches to 12 inches deep and pour the fertilizer into the holes.
  • TILL FOR APPLICATION METHOD # 2 — Till the soil around the drip line just deep enough (2 to 3 inches) to break up the sod, but not to disturb many of the roots of the tree or shrub (on shallow-rooted trees such as maples, this method may not be possible). Then use a soaker hose or a hose-end sprayer to apply the fertilizer.
  • SIMPLE APPLY IN APPLICATION METHOD # 3 — Apply the fertilizer without any tillage. This method will take more time for the fertilizer to penetrate the root zone.
  • HOLLOW TREE SPIKE FOR APPLICATION METHOD # 4 — Use a hollow tree spike, which is pushed down into the root zone. The fertilizer is then injected through the spike. It may be impractical to use this method on highly compacted soils.

RATIO PER TREE — Depending on the size of the tree or shrub, AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer should be applied at four to 32 ounces per plant, with a ratio of four ounces of fertilizer to one gallon of water for hand watering. The concentration should be reduced to one half ounce of fertilizer per gallon of water when injection and soaker hoses are used.  When introducing the AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer solution into holes, pour 1 quart of the fertilizer/water mixture into each hole.

Younger trees and shrubs or plants in sandy soils require about one half of the concentration previously described, but applications should occur during the spring and fall.  Rates vary according to soil fertility and other inputs used.  Pear trees require less.

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