Fruit trees need the right nutrition to grow strong and healthy so they can produce beautiful, delicious fruit year after year.
Using the best fertilizer for fruit trees is the best way to make sure your trees are getting exactly what they need.
Table of Contents
- The Best Fertilizers For Your Fruit Trees
- Best Fruit Tree Fertilizer Reviews
- 1. Jobe’s Organics 9227 Fruit & Nut Granular Fertilizer
- 2. Jobe’s 1612 Fruit and Citrus Tree Fertilizer Spikes
- 3. Urban Farm Fertilizers Apples & Oranges Fruits and Citrus Fertilizer
- 4. Espoma CT4 Citrus-tone Plant Food
- 5. Southern Ag Chelated Citrus Nutritional Spray
- 6. Liquid Kelp Organic Seaweed Fertilizer
- 7. JR Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic Citrus Food Fertilizer
- 8. Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes
- What Kind of Fertilizer for Fruit Trees?
- When to Fertilize Fruit Trees?
- How to Fertilize Fruit Trees?
- How Often to Fertilize Fruit Trees?
- How Much Fertilizer for Fruit Trees?
The Best Fertilizers For Your Fruit Trees
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to fertilizers for fruit trees. Whether you’re looking for granules, liquids, or an easy-to-use spike. We found some great options to help you get the best harvest from your favorite fruit tree.
|Jobe’s Organics 9227 Fruit & Nut Granular Fertilizer||3-5-5|
|Jobe’s 1612 Fruit and Citrus Tree Fertilizer Spikes||9-12-12|
|Urban Farm Fertilizers Apples & Oranges Fruits and Citrus||4.5-2.0-4.2|
|Espoma CT4 Citrus-tone Plant Food||5-2-6|
|Southern Ag Chelated Citrus Nutritional Spray||Fe 1.2%, Zn 1.7%, Mn 1.2%, Mg 1%, S 4.1%.|
|Liquid Kelp Organic Seaweed Fertilizer||1-0.23-6|
|JR Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic Citrus Food Fertilizer||20-10-20|
|Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes||10-15-15|
Best Fruit Tree Fertilizer Reviews
1. Jobe’s Organics 9227 Fruit & Nut Granular Fertilizer
This fertilizer from Jobe’s Organic is a good choice for both new and established trees.
How does it work? It uses USDA-certified organic ingredients that aggressively break down the material. This increases the uptake of nutrients, delivering faster results.
The secret ingredient is Jobe’s Biozome, a combination of beneficial bacteria, Mycorrhizal fungi, and Archaea. This blend doesn’t just deliver good results, it actually improves the long-term quality of the soil so you’ll see benefits for a long time to come.
Not only does the soil improve, but trees can also resist illnesses and insects. Plus, it makes them more resilient to droughts and dry spells during the growing season. Jobe’s is specially formulated to help trees bear more fruit while being completely safe for the environment.
Each of the available sizes comes in an easy pour, resealable bag for convenience and easy storage. This fertilizer was designed for trees growing in the ground and should be reapplied every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure a continuous release of fertilizer.
2. Jobe’s 1612 Fruit and Citrus Tree Fertilizer Spikes
These fertilizer spikes from Jobe’s are designed to feed trees directly at the root which is right where they need it the most. Because you insert them directly into the ground at the tree’s dripline, they deliver a steady supply of nutrients right below the surface.
One of the great things about this slow-release fertilizer is that it lasts all season. There’s no need to reapply every few weeks, just stick them in the ground during the early spring and late fall and you’re done. Plus, there no wasteful runoff, hazards, or bad smells to worry about.
You can use these spikes with all fruit trees, including citrus. They deliver the nitrogen, phosphate, potash, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur trees need to make the most delicious, juicy fruits possible.
3. Urban Farm Fertilizers Apples & Oranges Fruits and Citrus Fertilizer
The cool thing about Urban Farms is that it micro-brew all of their liquid fertilizers by hand on a weekly basis. That not only means that the quality is unmatched but it also lets you know you’re getting the freshest possible product, every time.
This fertilizer is a hybrid, part organic, and part hydroponic grade material. It’s also super concentrated with a dilution ratio of 56:1. In other words, 1 quart makes 64 gallons of fertilizer.
Because this comes in liquid form, you can use it in a variety of ways including drip systems, hose ends, soil, hydroponics, and hand-watering. It provides everything your fruit and citrus trees need for fast results, especially during the fruiting phase.
4. Espoma CT4 Citrus-tone Plant Food
Another great organic option is this plant food from Espoma. It’s 100% natural and doesn’t use any fillers or sludges. This fertilizer will help your plants produce larger, more flavorful fruit and can be used in fruit, citrus, and even avocado trees.
Since this is a slow-release formula, you only need a few applications. In fact, 3 a year should be enough. Do a pre-bloom application in later winter, a post-bloom application for more fruit production in late spring, and one in the early fall to help provide nourishment throughout the winter.
Of course, this product can be used on potted plants, too, but it should be applied more frequently. Because of frequent watering and draining with a potted tree, you lose the benefit of the slow release of nutrients. Apply more every 60 days in late winter and fall.
5. Southern Ag Chelated Citrus Nutritional Spray
Next up is this spray from Southern Ag is specifically formulated for tropical fruit trees like citrus, avocados, and mangos but can also be used effectively on other fruit trees as well.
This one is a little different because it’s meant to be sprayed on the leaves and is formulated to control minor element deficiencies that can lead to yellowing leaves. Minor problems like this are sometimes the first sign of something bigger so catching and correcting them is key.
So, what’s in it? It contains 5 essential nutrients that trees need to thrive: zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, and sulfur. It can be mixed at 1 tablespoon per gallon and applied twice a year for preventive care.
Once you do notice a problem, though, mix 2 tablespoons per gallon and apply in 2-week intervals until the issue improves.
6. Liquid Kelp Organic Seaweed Fertilizer
Liquid Kelp from GS Plant Foods is a great option that takes advantage of all the natural goodness of kelp. This fertilizer is made from the finest varieties of the seaweed plant from Norway.
This fertilizer stimulates root growth and nutrient uptake for stronger, healthier trees. It also helps trees better respond to stress caused by extreme weather conditions, diseases, insects, and even frost.
There are a few ways to use this product. It’s really concentrated and the manufacturer recommends using 1 to 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water for spraying applications. Use 2 ounces in a gallon for regular watering.
7. JR Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic Citrus Food Fertilizer
Next is this citrus fertilizer from JR Peters. This formula has the best combination of nutrients for citrus trees including common plants like orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruits as well as mangos and kumquats.
There are 2 ways to use this fertilizer. First, you can use it as an everyday additive by watering with 1 teaspoon per gallon every time you water. Or, mix 1 tablespoon per gallon and use every 7 to 10 days.
This formula has been enhanced with the perfect balance of micronutrients to provide strong branches, green leaves, and more delicious fruit. It comes in a resealable container that contains 1.5 pounds of fertilizer and includes a spoon for easy measuring.
8. Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes
Last but not least are these fertilizer spikes from Miracle-Gro, one of the most trusted brands around when it comes to gardening. These spikes contain a slow-release formula that promotes lush foliage and more fruit.
All you have to do is insert these sticks into the ground around the drip line, once in the spring and again in the fall. Spring feeding is to help them push out flowers, leaves, and seeds while fall feeding provides what the plants need to produce more blooms the following year.
What Kind of Fertilizer for Fruit Trees?
Most tree fertilizers contain a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or NPK.
You will usually see the ratio of these ingredients printed on the bag. It’s usually 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. A balanced ratio of these 3 things makes the fertilizer safe to use on most trees.
There are some trace elements that trees need to help them develop properly. Let’s take a closer look at all of the essentials.
Fruit trees really like fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the main nutrients in all plant growth because it helps give leaves their green color which is necessary for photosynthesis. It’s most important during general growth and leaf formation.
Nitrogen is readily available in most organic fertilizers and composts like blood meal or manure, though a fertilizer specifically designed for fruit trees is recommended because it takes into account all of the other mineral requirements, too.
All plants need phosphorus to transfer energy from one part of the tree to another and helps develop strong roots and flowers. Phosphorous doesn’t spread through the ground very quickly which is why it should be an ingredient in every tree fertilizer.
Potassium is important because it helps regulate water pressure inside and outside of the tree’s cells. It also helps with metabolism and is a key component of strong root development.
Other Major Nutrient
In addition to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plants also need calcium for strong cell walls and overall health, magnesium for seed formation and regulation, and sulfur which is necessary to create the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis.
Here are some of the trace elements essential for fruit trees and what they do:
- Zinc – seed production
- Manganese – chlorophyll production
- Iron – chlorophyll production
- Copper – helps metabolize nitrogen
- Molybdenum – helps metabolize nitrogen
- Chlorine – required for photosynthesis
- Boron – promotes cellular growth and regulates nutrient uptake
If there’s a deficiency of any of these trace elements, you should be able to tell.
For example, you might notice that the leaves are turning yellow or pale. The best way to find out what the problem is to have your soil tested. That way, you know just what to replace.
When to Fertilize Fruit Trees?
The best time to fertilize fruit trees is in the late winter or early spring. This is right before the growing season and the perfect time to provide the extra nutrients that the plant needs to be prepared.
For older, established trees, you can also use a half-strength fertilizer in the fall. The idea is that the nutrients will slowly make their way into the soil so that, come spring, it will be rich with everything the trees need.
Generally, trees should not be fertilized in the fall unless they are showing signs of deficiencies. Winter is a dormant season which means there isn’t any growth happening. So, there’s no need to fertilize to prepare for winter.
Believe it or not, fertilizing trees in the fall can actually have a negative effect on newly planted young trees. Why? Because the extra nutrients encourage them to grow when they should be dormant. This makes them less durable and unlikely to survive a cold, icy winter.
The best time of day to feed your trees is in the morning, especially in the summer. It gives the trees a good opportunity to soak up any nutrients before the hot sun emerges and the temperature starts to increase.
How to Fertilize Fruit Trees?
There are different types of fertilizer. Each one is used differently.
Liquid fertilizer is usually pretty concentrated which means you have to dilute it with water before it’s ready to use. How much you use varies on the brand but it’s typically 1 to 2 ounces of fertilizer in a gallon of water.
Some liquid fertilizers can be used in a few different ways but the most common method is applying it directly to the ground around the tree’s drip line. What’s a drip line? It’s the place on the ground where water would drip off the longest branch.
Why is the drip line important? Because it’s also the best approximation you have for how far the roots have spread. When your water at the distance of the drip line, you’re presumably placing the fertilizer right where the roots can easily absorb it.
These fertilizers are sometimes applied weekly during spring and summer when mixed at a low concentration or once a month at higher concentrations.
There are some fertilizers that you’re meant to spray on the leaves of your fruit tree. This is typically done with citrus trees. Pay attention to the ingredients in the spray because this method is usually used to replenish the trace elements we mentioned earlier.
Fertilizer spikes are the easiest kind to use. All you have to do is insert them around the drip line once or twice a year and that’s it. They use an extended-release formula so you don’t have to keep reapplying which is really convenient.
There are some fertilizers that come in granule form and they’re probably the easiest to apply other than spikes. All you have to do is distribute the right amount of fertilizer under the tree from the trunk to the drip line.
You should water the area right after application, especially if you’re not sure when the next rain is going to happen. Water starts to break down the fertilizer, carrying it into the soil where it can be utilized by the roots. Without water, it will just sit on the surface of the ground.
Read the Instruction Carefully
As we said, this information is pretty general. Each manufacturer has their own specific instructions as to how their product should be mixed and applied. Make sure you follow their recommendations to get the best results.
How Often to Fertilize Fruit Trees?
How often you should fertilize fruit trees depends in part on the age of the tree. As we mentioned earlier, you should be very careful not to over-fertilize young trees. In fact, some experts recommend not fertilizing a new tree at all for the first year.
The reasoning for this is that new growth may not be as strong as it should be with young trees. Even the right amount of fertilizer at the wrong time can actually cause slower, weaker growth.
Established trees are a little harder but how often you fertilize depends on the type of fertilizer you use.
Liquid fertilizers can be used daily during prime growth periods if they’re diluted enough but are usually used only once or twice a month at a higher concentration. Spray fertilizers should be applied about once every 2 weeks and spikes and granules typically only once a season.
How Much Fertilizer for Fruit Trees?
There are several schools of thought on this. Some give you a ballpark figure while others are quite precise.
Read the Package
First, you could just follow the package directions. After all, the manufacturer made the fertilizer so it makes sense to follow their recommendation.
Trial and Error
You can also do a trial and error method, starting with a diluted fertilizer or just a small amount, and waiting to see how your trees react. Although the best time to feed your trees is late winter or early spring, you can add fertilizer until June so you do have time to experiment.
Adjust as Needed
The third method is to use the amount your trees need to actually grow. First, you have to know what the normal growth is for the type of tree you have so you have somewhat of a baseline to compare to.
For example, apple trees that are only a few years old should grow about a foot a year. If your tree is falling short, increase the amount of fertilizer by 50% during the next growth period.
Again, we should emphasize it’s important to know something about the variety of trees you’re growing as they all grow at different rates.
Do the Math
Finally, the best and most accurate way to decide how much fertilizer to use is to actually do the math. How much fertilizer a fruit tree needs depends on its age and size which will tell you how much nitrogen it needs. From there, you can better choose the right fertilizer.
The formula to figure out how much to use is this: one-tenth of a pound of nitrogen per each year of growth or inch of the tree trunk. To figure out exactly what that means as far as volume, divide this number by the amount of nitrogen in your fertilizer.
Here’s an example. Say you have a 5-year-old tree. Following this math, it needs 0.5 pounds of nitrogen per year.
If you’re using a 20-20-20 fertilizer, that means that 20% of each pound is nitrogen. Divide 0.5 pounds by 0.2 (or 20%) and you get 2.5 pounds. So, your 5-year-old tree needs 2.5 pounds of fertilizer every year if you use a 20-20-20 mix.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing a good fertilizer for fruit trees. One of the best things you can do before you make a decision is to really research the kind of trees you’re growing and learn as much about them as you can.
Another thing to think about what type of fertilizer is most convenient. While you have more control over the application of concentrated liquids, mixing and application can be tedious. On the other hand, granules and spikes are relatively easy and don’t require a lot of follow up.
It’s important to choose the fertilizer that works best for both you and your trees.