The Best Fertilizer for Fruit Trees – A Detailed Review For Gardeners
Like any other plant, fruit trees need enough nutrients to grow and yield tasty fruits. That is why you need to supply them with suitable fertilizer at the right time.
Do you know how to choose the best fertilizer for fruit trees? Which is better, organic or chemical plant food?
Discover all the answers below with Growingherbsforbeginners.com.
Top 5 Best Fertilizer For Fruit Trees
From here, we will review the Best Organic and Chemical Fertilizer for Fruit Trees and reveal which one is the best product.
|Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Tomato|
|Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3|
|Southern Ag Chelated Citrus Nutritional Spray|
|Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes|
|Espoma Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Natural & Organic Citrus|
#1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Plant Food – Best Overall
The first and also the perfect fertilizer option today is a product of Miracle-Gro. It is an all-natural plant food with all nutrients that a fruit tree needs for healthy growth and bears bountiful fruits.
More specifically, this commercial fertilizer contains kelp, feather meal, bone meal, earthworm castings, and calcium to increase the fruit sizes. In addition to fruit trees, even vegetables can benefit from this plant food.
As an added perk, using Shake ‘N Feed also helps nourish the soil to produce even more fruits of better quality. On top of that, it can prevent calcium deficiencies that cause disorders in crops.
This plant food applies to all plants grown and every type of tree on the ground and in containers. However, it may not work for new plantings.
Applying this fertilizer is hassle-free as you do not need to dilute it with water. When using it for the first time, just remove the cap and peel off the seal. Then, mix it into the soil and water to start feeding.
It is recommended to reapply every three months to maintain a beautiful lush garden all season long.
- All-natural ingredients with calcium
- No pre-mix with water needed
- Easy to use and apply
- For use in-ground and in containers
- Not for new plantings
#2. Down To Earth Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3 – Best NPK
If you are looking for something rich in nitrogen, do not miss out on this Down to Earth product. It contains high nitrogen content, which encourages blossoms and juicy fruits.
Apart from nitrogen, this organic feed also supplies your plants with essential nutrients such as calcium, sulfur, iron, and zinc. It even offers greensand, basalt, fishbone meals, etc.
These all-natural components are useful in promoting lush growth and fragrant blossoms. They also make this Down to Earth product one of the most sought-for fertilizers for fruit trees on the market.
In addition, this product earns many good reviews for its efficiency. Since it is easy for the plants to absorb the nutrients, you can expect to see positive results quickly.
The 6-3-3 mix caters best to nuts and citrus trees. It is particularly good for strawberries too.
Last but not least, this Down to Earth fertilizer is easy to apply. You can mix it directly into the soil and water or dilute it beforehand. The mix ratio may be different between new plantings and mature fruit trees.
- Organic fertilizers certified by the OMRI
- Quick nutrient delivery
- Versatile and easy to use
- Terrible smell
- Not recommended for indoor use
#3. Southern Ag Chelated Citrus Nutritional Spray – Best Spray
This product is mainly used to fertilize citrus, but it is applicable to all ornamentals and fruit trees in your garden. It comes in a pack of 16oz, which will fit the needs of small farm owners.
Regarding composition, the Southern Ag fertilizer contains five vital minerals, namely sulfur, zinc, magnesium, iron, and manganese. These nutrients are essential for the development and growth of an entire tree.
You can also spray this fertilizer on plants to prevent or correct minor nutrient deficiencies, which cause yellowing leaves. The manufacturer also includes the suitable ratio in each case for the highest efficiency.
A word of warning: This fertilizer may stain your masonry or painted surface. Make sure you do not apply it in such places.
On the negative side, you may expect this product to leave a residue on the tree leaves.
- Applicable to all fruit trees
- Nutrient-rich profile
- Easy to apply
- Weird smell
#4. Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes – Best Budget
This is another Miracle-Gro product featured on today’s list. It is ideal for those who have a tight budget. If you want to nourish your fruit trees while still saving some money, consider this option.
The NPK ratio of this mix is 15 – 5 – 10, which makes it great for established trees. The best time to apply this fertilizer is in spring and fall.
Note that it may not be suitable for young plants and those grown in containers.
The fertilizer is available in packages, each of which contains 12 spikes. The spikes come with an enclosed plastic cap so that you can drive them into the ground around the tree. Make sure you remove the cap in dry places for future use.
If you may not know, using fertilizer spikes is a great way to avoid over-fertilizing and the wrong dosage.
One thing to keep in mind is that you need to water the soil well before inserting the spikes. Otherwise, you may cause root burns.
- No risks of over-fertilizing
- Easy to use and versatile
- All-natural ingredients
- Not for young or container plants
#5. Espoma Citrus-Tone Plant Food – Best Citrus
As its name might suggest, this plant food is the best fertilizer for citrus trees. However, you can also use it to feed other types of fruit trees as well.
The NPK ratio for this citrus-specific fertilizer is 5 – 2 – 6, which means it contains more phosphorus than nitrogen fertilizer and potassium. Such a mix will be best to encourage bountiful fruits.
As an added perk, applying this product also helps to enhance the overall health of your fruit trees. Generally, you can witness positive results within two weeks of application.
More specifically, the yellow leaves will start to fall off, leaving places for green ones. Young branches will grow to prepare for new fruits.
This fruit tree food contains all-natural ingredients that will not harm the environment. It does have a strong smell, but covering it well with soil will help fix this issue.
Like other products on the list, using this fertilizer is easy as pie. You only need to mix it directly with the soil or spread it on top of the soil before watering.
- Environmentally-friendly option
- No risks of root burns
- Affordable price
- Not water soluble
Types of Fruit Tree Fertilizers
There are different ways to categorize fruit tree fertilizers.
Organic VS Chemical
For example, fertilizers are divided into organic and chemical products based on the components.
Organic feeds contain organic matter such as compost, manure, or natural deposits such as saltpeter.
Gardeners often prefer organic fertilizers. Image Source: Couch to Homestead
Generally, people prefer natural over chemical fertilizers as they are more environmentally friendly. To be more specific, it nourishes the plants while enhancing the productivity of the soil at the same time.
Meanwhile, synthetic fertilizers can boost fruit yield easily and quickly. On the other hand, using inorganic feeds may lead to a mineral shortage in the soil.
Different types of fertilizer also come in different forms, including powder, granular, and liquid.
Powder fertilizers are useful for applying in large areas on farms or in orchards. People often spread them by hand before watering the trees to enhance absorption.
Alternatively, these types of fertilizer can be diluted with water before being applied as a liquid fertilizer.
Using powder is an economical way to nourish your plants, but make sure you measure the ratio carefully. Otherwise, it could cause root burn.
Granules can be applied directly on top of the soil without watering. It is a slow-release option, which means it naturally decomposes to add nutrients to the soil.
Since granules are heavily concentrated, they can nourish your plants for a long time, even up to nine months.
If you use granules to fertilize your orchards, a seed spreader may come in handy.
Liquid fertilizers for fruit trees are probably the easiest to apply in your garden. You only need to dilute them with water if needed, then use a hose to spray it over your plants. In that way, using liquids can save a lot of time and effort.
Of course, it is essential to follow the recommended measurements to avoid root burn.
What To Consider When Buying Fruit Tree Fertilizer
Plants have different nutritional demands at different times. For example, young fruit trees need nitrogen, while mature ones need more minerals.
To be more specific, nitrogen is helpful in helping plants grow and develop. If a plant suffers from a lack of nitrogen while growing, it will slowly sprout and have low productivity.
Meanwhile, phosphorus plays an important role in root formation and blooming.
Last but not least, potassium facilitates the transportation of nutrients in the trees. It also helps to enhance fruit quality and the overall resilience against adverse conditions.
Pay attention to how you can apply fertilizer to fruit trees. Generally, there are two ways, including soil application and foliar feeding.
Soil application means you apply the fertilizer directly to the soil so that the roots can absorb the nutrients quickly. Meanwhile, foliar feeding refers to spraying the nutrients over the plants.
For fruit trees, soil application will be more effective since it is difficult to cover the whole tree by spraying.
You should choose a pack size that fits your needs. Buying a large pack will be more cost-effective if you have a large garden. For only one or two fruit trees, you can choose fertilizer spikes or capsules.
Safety is a concern if you are buying chemical fertilizers. Especially in case you have pets at home, you may want to opt for something pet-friendly.
When To Fertilize Fruit Trees
This section will provide a detailed guide on the right time to fertilize fruit trees.
Generally speaking, spring is the best time to feed fruit trees since they need enough nutrients to push out leaves and grow blossoms. Ideally, you should fertilize your plants one month prior to bud break.
Should you happen to miss this stage, you can always fertilize your plants anytime you want until June.
It is advised to stay away from feeding your plants with any nutrients in the fall. During that time, the trees do not need additional nutrients to grow.
If you insist on fertilizing them, you may encourage the growth of young branches and leaves, which may not withstand the upcoming cold winter.
The perfect time to feed your plants depends on many other factors, such as their ages, the condition of your soil, the place where you live, and more.
Let’s take a look at when to feed some specific trees.
Orange, Lime, and Lemon
These citrus species grow best in temperate climates, so it is ideal for feeding them in late winter, late spring, and late summer.
Apple will benefit from fertilizers applied in early spring, also known as the pre-flowering stage. Then, you should add more nutrients after the blossom season to encourage fruit growth.
You can feed mango trees at the same time as citrus. Note that young mango trees need feeding once in mid-spring and again in the middle of summer.
Figs are easy-to-grow plants that do not need extra feeding. Therefore, you should only fertilize them if they grow slowly or have yellow leaves.
Fertilizing banana trees should be done in early spring to encourage foliage growth. When the trees start to blossom, you should feed them with extra potassium.
Like figs, cherries rarely ask for additional nutrients from fertilizers. However, you should fertilize these plants if you observe slow growth.
A rule of thumb is to fertilize mature cherry trees every two months and every four weeks with small potted plants.
Peaches are also a type of light feeder. If you have mature peach trees in your garden, you should fertilize them twice: once in early spring and again after the blossoms.
Tips For Fertilizing Fruit Trees
#1 Measure Their Annual Growth
You should measure the annual growth of your fruit trees to know whether they are growing well or not.
Typically, a healthy fruit tree will grow about 18 to 24 inches in a season. If your trees are growing on target, there is no need to add fertilizers.
In case your plants fail to grow as you expect, you should feed them more nitrogen.
#2 Add A Reasonable Amount Of Nitrogen
Nitrogen helps promote growth and fruits, but too much of a good thing can be bad. In this case, adding too much nitrogen may harm, or even kill your trees due to nutrient deficiencies.
#3 Avoid Adding Nitrogen After June
Applying nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the fall can prevent the fruit trees from going into dormancy when winter comes. If you forget to fertilize your plants before June, it is better to add mulch and wait until spring.
#4 Mulch In The Early Spring
Mulching is highly recommended as it offers many benefits. More specifically, mulch enhances the productivity of the soil by increasing microbes and improving texture.
In addition, mulching also helps retain water and keep grass away from the drip zone of your fruit trees.
#5 Follow The Instructions For The Product You Are Going To Apply
Each plant food has different ways of application. It is always essential to read and follow the manufacturer’s guide to ensure proper application.
Also, there may be a couple of things you need to pay attention to when fertilizing your plants. For example, the product may stain your Mansory or harm your pets. All of these matters are indicated on the label, so you must read the instruction before use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Do You Read The Label Of Fertilizers?
A: You can see three bold numbers on the label of fertilizers, for example, 10 – 10 – 10. The first number will specify the amount of nitrogen in the product, the second for phosphate, and the last for potassium.
Q: What Is The Best Fertilizer For Flowering Trees?
A: Flowering plants often need fertilizers with the highest percentage of phosphorus for healthy flowering and root formation.
Q: What Are Some Common Organic Fertilizers?
A: Some natural feeds are corn gluten meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, fish meal, soybean meal, compost tea, chicken manure, etc.
Q: How Much Fertilizer Should I Use On Fruit Trees?
A: The general consensus is about 2 – 3 pounds of NPK for every area of 100 square feet. Clay soil will require more fertilizer than sandy soil. However, it is advisable to test the soil to know the suitable amount of fertilizer.
Q: What Is Fertilizer Burn?
A: Fertilizer burn refers to the phenomenon in which the leaves turn brown on the edges. It is one of many symptoms caused by over-fertilizing.
I have shown you everything you need to know about fertilizer for fruit trees, including the best options and how to choose a good product for your garden. Hopefully, you can make a well-informed decision now.
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