A Guide to Fertilizing Apple Trees

After reading this paper you will have a more complete understanding of apple tree nutrition. This paper is a summary of several sources of university publications and books that will give the reader the necessary information on fertilization of apple trees. In general most growers will use an off the shelf fertilizer analysis on apple trees, when in reality apple trees are like any other living thing that requires different nutrients in different ratios depending on the soil type, native material, and other amendments that may be distributed around them.

Optimum apple tree growth and quality requires optimum fertility conditions. Most producers appreciate that different tree species have their own unique requirements. Supplying these unique requirements starts with identifying the present soil and tree conditions with coordinated soil and plant analysis. Proper fertility pays dividends year after year. Tree vigor will improve in the first year, but the greatest gain will likely be in the following years with better fruit color, more fruit, and optimum growth rates. All of this results in more top production trees in shorter time.

The paper discusses the importance of soil pH, high and low nitrogen requiring varieties, phosphorous and potassium fertility of apple trees. And it does not end here; the paper goes into the secondary nutrients of calcium, magnesium and sulfur and their usage as well as application recommendations. From here the grower can also fine tune their fertility program further by looking at boron, zinc, manganese, copper and iron requirements of apple trees.

Also included are some general comments on foliar fertilization and fertigation of apple trees.

Fertilizing Apples (526KB)