Fertilizing Apple Trees – Things You Should Know

The development of an efficient fertilizer application program is a difficult task faced by farmers around the world. Transitioning from conventional to organic farming takes a lot of skill and good management. 

Almost all plants require fertilizers, which are widely utilized by farmers engaged in floriculture and horticulture. When it comes to fertilizing apple trees, here are the things you should know.

Is it Necessary to Fertilize an Apple Tree?

Stephanie from Living Boosts say that apples are heavy feeders and most soils don’t have all the nutrients they need, so adding fertilizer to an apple tree is necessary, otherwise, the tree will not grow or produce very few apples.

Apple trees are generally moderate nutrient consumers but consume a lot of potassium and calcium. Therefore, these should be used every year while feeding apple trees.

Apple trees, like all other fruit trees, do best in environments with lots of nitrogen. A 20-10-10 fertilizer is a fantastic addition if you have older trees growing in soil that needs little to no improvement. This assists in preserving the ideal nutritional balance, which is roughly 2:1:1, to encourage healthy growth.

The apple fertilizer number (20-10-10) represents the amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium in that order.

Nutrient Deficiencies in Apple Trees

Nutrient shortages can significantly impact Apple trees’ productivity and performance. The majority of fertilizers used in organic farming are organic, although minor amounts of chemical fertilizers are still necessary.

Apple trees frequently suffer from a lack of boron. You may have a boron shortage if you see brown, corky areas inside the apples or bud death at shoot ends. Soft apples that degrade quickly are the result of calcium deficiencies. As a preventive measure, use lime on the crop.

Potassium deficiencies lead to fruit that is darker than usual and older leaves that curl.

The curling of leaves indicates a lack of phosphorus, and peak fruit blight may occur with low calcium levels.

Obstructed fruit, chlorosis,  fruit bursting, or cracking are also indications of deficiencies.

How to Fertilize Apple Trees

Know your limits before fertilizing apple trees. The root systems of mature trees can be 4 feet (1 m) deep and stretch outward as much as 1-12 times the diameter of the canopy. 

Although smaller feeder roots live in the top foot (30.5 cm) of soil that takes the majority of nutrients, the deep roots are responsible for absorbing water and storing extra nutrients for the following year.

Apple trees that are young, between one and three years old, should grow at least one foot (30.5 cm) every year. If not, up the fertilizer (10-10-10) by 50% in the second and third years. Depending on their growth, four-year-old or older trees may or may not need nitrogen.

 If they grow less than 6 inches (15 cm), apply the sul-po-mag and boron as needed. If they grow more than a foot, apply the sul-po-mag and boron as needed.

If you apply the fertilizer in a mound or directly to the tree trunk, your apple tree may suffer damage. Spread the fertilizer evenly all around the tree trunk as an alternative. After applying the fertilizer, you can irrigate the ground.

Know When to Apply Fertilizers

Three applications of fertilizer should be made each year:

Prior to flowering, the first application should be made then the second treatment should be made after flowering. After a month, the third application should be made.

However, depending on the nutrients needed, fertilizers can be administered at various times of the year throughout the early growth phases and during vegetative growth. 

However, fertilizers should only be used in moderation. To maintain healthy and rich soil, regular applications of manure and other organic products are required.

Understand crop needs and apply fertilizers appropriately.

The quantity of apple fertilizers varies according to the fertility of the soil, the amount of manure used, and the growth stage. When fertilizers are administered in the wrong amounts, several things can occur.

For instance, excessive apple fertilizer use causes plants to focus on developing lots of shoots and leaves rather than fruit.

Nutrient deficiencies, poor health, and stunted growth can result from fertilizer use or application that is either nonexistent or extremely minimal. In addition, the plants perform poorly and lose some of their resistance to diseases and pests.

Mulch the Plants

Mulching reduces weed development, improves soil texture, boosts organic matter, reduces water loss through evaporation, and increases soil microbes, especially for young plants. As soil health increases, less nitrogen-based fertilizer is required.

In commercial apple production, professionals must get your soil tested by professionals to identify the nutrients that are present and absent. This can help farmers to devise effective fertilizer and manuring programs.


Your orchard will remain productive and healthy if you fertilize the apple trees and other fruit trees. But it might be tough to know when to fertilize and how to do it organically. These suggestions will help you make sense of things as you plan on fertilizing apple trees.