The best fruit tree fertilizers - Foundations of fruit tree fertilization

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The best fruit tree fertilizers - Foundations of fruit tree fertilization: tree

If the yield of the fruit trees is scarce, a tree pruning can often help. In many cases, however, the problem is elsewhere. So that the tree can grow healthy and strong, the soil must provide a nutrient-rich foundation. Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and trace elements are needed for the fruit tree to develop shoots and a variety of flowers and fruits. In this case, the use of fertilizers can be a good support for the wood.


To grow and thrive, a fruit tree needs in addition to light and water also regularly different nutrients. During its growth, the wood deprives the soil of the existing nutrients, so they must be returned to the garden floor. A good basis for this is the fallen leaves. Therefore, it should not be disposed of, but left under the trees. Well-stocked, mature fruit trees are relatively undemanding. For example, an apple tree requires the following amounts of nutrients per year:
  • Nitrogen: 450 to 600 g
  • Phosphor: 100 to 200 g
  • Potassium: 500 to 600 g
  • Magnesium: 50 to 100 g
Of course, since humic soils contain large amounts of these substances, it is not necessary to add all the fertilizer needs. The larger the tree and the less sparse the soil, the more fertilizer must be added.

main nutrients

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Like every living thing, fruit trees also need food. Plants feed mainly on a few basic elements.
Nitrogen (N)
Fruit trees need nitrogen mainly for growth and the formation of leaf mass. An excess of nitrogen is found in particularly dark green foliage and long, weak shoots. The trees are more susceptible to diseases and pests and also bear fruit with poor storage quality. Deficiency manifests itself in weak growth, small leaves and poor rooting. Even the fruits are smaller.
Phosphorus (P)
Phosphorus is particularly important for the formation of flowers, fruits and chlorophyll and the growth of radicles. Both excess and lack of phosphorus are reflected in disrupted growth. A shortage is often associated with a leaf tip drought.
Potassium (K)
Potassium is necessary for the tree as it regulates the water balance, strengthens the cell tissue and increases the frost hardness. In addition, potassium promotes the aroma of the fruits and their shelf life. A lack of potassium is easily recognized by the fact that fruit trees appear to wither despite frequent watering. The leaves roll up and the leaf margins are dry and brown.

More nutrients

Calcium (Ca)
Calcium deacidifies the garden soil by raising the pH. It has a positive effect on the crumbling and aeration of the soil and strengthens the plant tissue. An excess of calcium traps iron and other trace elements in the soil, leading to deficiency symptoms such as leaf chlorosis.
Magnesium (Mg)
Magnesium not only regulates the entire water balance of the tree, but is also the most important building block for the formation of leaf greens. Fruit trees require magnesium only in small quantities. However, if it is missing, fruits remain small and the leaves become spotty.
trace elements
Furthermore, the woody plants need not only small amounts of sulfur but also trace elements for healthy and vigorous growth. These include:
  • zinc
  • iron
  • manganese
  • copper
  • chlorine
  • boron
  • molybdenum

NPK ratio

The NPK ratio on commercially available fertilizers indicates in what proportions the main nutrients are contained in the fertilizer. Fertilizers for fruit trees should in principle contain high amounts of nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus is also important, but fruit trees need only small amounts of it. If you buy a special fruit tree fertilizer commercially, pay attention to the following conditions:
  • N-P-K: for example 6-4-12 or 6-3-6
  • a lot of nitrogen and potassium, little phosphorus
  • additionally magnesium (Mg)
  • If necessary, regulate the pH of the soil by adding lime

Types of fertilizer

Basically, two different types of fertilizer can be distinguished:
Organic fertilizer
An organic fertilizer is produced by the decomposition of natural materials, for example during composting or rotting of manure. With an organic fertilizer you increase the amount of humus in the soil, which means that in the long term, the soil is made more fertile. Not only nitrogen is present in the compost, but also important nutrients and trace elements that the fruit tree needs.
  • compost
  • Stable manure of cattle, sheep or horses (well rotted)
  • pelleted cattle manure
  • Horn shavings, horn or rock flour

Horn chips

Mineral fertilizer
Mineral fertilizers are also called fertilizers.These fruit tree fertilizers are designed for a specific composition of nutrients. The main composition of these nutrient suppliers are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). They are available in directly available, water-soluble form and can therefore be taken up and used by the trees immediately. Mineral fertilizers should always be used wisely. Excessive use or the wrong time can quickly lead to over-fertilization.
  • in soils fertilized regularly with compost or manure, only a small amount is needed
  • under certain conditions also higher dosage
  • in very barren soil
  • if a subculture exists
Organo-mineral fruit tree fertilizer
A third possibility is a combination of organic and mineral fertilizers, which are often offered commercially for fruit tree fertilization. When buying, make sure that the fertilizer nitrogen and potassium is emphasized, because of these nutrients, the fruit trees need the highest amounts. Although phosphorus is also necessary, it is needed only in smaller quantities.


A fruit tree is relatively sensitive, as far as the timing of fertilization. The top priority in the fertilization of fruit trees is to fertilize exclusively during the growth phase of the trees. Only then, when the trees start to form shoots, the nutrients are needed. In autumn and winter, when the vegetation period is over and metabolism is kept to a minimum, it is not necessary to fertilize. During this time, nutrients can no longer be absorbed.
  • Timing for whole fertilizer and organic fertilizer: between February and July
  • best from the end of March to the beginning of April
  • for apple, cherry and pear trees, always before the month of June
  • humus rich soil: maximum once in spring
  • often a biennial rhythm is enough
  • in very sandy, nutrient-poor soils once in spring, once in summer
  • targeted phosphorus and potassium fertilization: in July or early August

soil analysis

Determine ph value - soil analysis

It is advisable to check the nutrient content of the soil every four to five years using a soil analysis. There are ready-to-use sets on the market, where a soil sample is taken from the tree disc and sent to a laboratory. As a rule, the analysis costs are already included in the purchase price. You not only get the current nutrient content, but also a fertilizer recommendation, so that you can specifically introduce missing nutrients.

Instructions for fruit tree fertilization

The best fruit tree fertilizers are made from organic materials plus mineral fertilizers as needed. It is usually easy to meet the nutritional needs of a fruit tree with compost and horn meal. But in some cases, compost and co are not enough. Therefore, the addition of artificial fertilizers in small quantities is necessary. For all fruit trees such as cherry, pear or apple, which are in a bed or on an open space, the following procedure is recommended:
1. Select quantity and type of fertilizer
While you do not have to worry about overdosing with a dose of compost, this is different with mineral fertilizers. Never exceed the specified amount, but lower it by one third, because almost every garden soil already contains nutrients. To be sure, you should have a soil sample analyzed.
2. Distribute fertilizer
The roots of fruit trees are formed in a circle around the trunk. The young, absorbable roots, which can absorb nutrients, are located in the outer area below or slightly outside the crown margin, the so-called root plate or the root plate. Therefore, it makes little sense to distribute a fruit tree fertilizer directly around the trunk. Spread the measured amount of fertilizer evenly as a thin layer in the area of ​​the root disk evenly on the garden floor.
3. Incorporate fertilizer
Use the fruit tree fertilizer, whether mineral, organic or a combination of both, with the help of a rake or a rake. As fruit trees form flat root systems that are close to the surface, the soil under the trees should not be worked too hard. In dry weather, it makes sense to then lather the fertilizer with water so that it becomes available for the fruit tree. In addition, if possible, the area should be covered with a mulch layer throughout the year.

Fertilize overgrown trees

Growing on the area under the crown plants, then spreading the fertilizer on the ground is not recommended. In this case, the fruit tree fertilizer must be incorporated below the turf or vegetation. Use a grave fork or a spade to pierce holes in the ground below the crown edge at regular intervals and enter the fertilizer there. Subsequently, the fertilizer is slurried with water. In general, a subculture or a growth below fruit trees is not beneficial.

amount of fertilizer

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Basically, mineral fertilizer should be used with much more care than organic fertilizer. With organic materials, it is hardly possible to over-fertilize. This is completely different with mineral fertilizers. If the readily releasable substances are not used at the right time or in too large quantities, this can cause the leaves of the fruit tree to discolour or change their shape. In extreme cases, the mineral fertilizer deprives the tree of the water so that it "burns". While initially too much nitrogen promotes the growth of fruit trees, flowering and fruiting can often not develop to the same extent. In addition, the tree can become susceptible to diseases and frost damage.
Organic fertilizer
  • mature compost: about 3 to 5 liters per tree
  • additionally 70 to 100 g of horn meal with pome fruit as nitrogen supplier
  • with stone fruit 100 to 140 g per tree
Mineral fertilizer
Alternatively, of course, a mineral fertilizer such as blue seed or calcium ammonium nitrate be used for fruit tree fertilization. Although it does not provide additional humus in the garden soil, it can supply the tree with all the important nutrients.
  • in older trees: maximum 50 g in two parts
  • never fertilize too much, rather lower the quantity by 1/3

young trees

How much fertilizer a fruit tree actually needs depends heavily on its age. Young trees that have only been planted and used properly with high-quality soil and compost usually do not require additional fertilization. The nutrient requirements of older fruit trees are understandably much higher. In most cases a one-time fertilization in spring is recommended. From a stem height of about one meter, small quantities of fruit tree fertilizer are sufficient in the following years:
  • about 1 to 1.5 liters of compost
  • additionally 10 to 15 g horn meal or horn shavings
  • alternatively blue grain or calcium ammonium nitrate
  • 15 to 20 g per tree in two parts

Video Board: What Is The Best Fertilizer For Peach Trees?.

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