Apple trees usually linger in the garden for decades and put down deep roots. Do you then have to fertilize them at all and if so, how?
An apple tree ( Malus Domestica ) is native to many gardens. So that your apple tree stays healthy and produces a lot of fruit every year, you can support it in its development with the right fertilization. However, there is often uncertainty as to whether, and if so, how to fertilize an apple tree. But good care will thank you for your apple tree with abundant growth and a rich harvest.
We can already reveal this much: when fertilizing apple trees, less is definitely more. But why do you have to fertilize your fruit trees at all?
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Do you have to fertilize an apple tree?
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The apple tree makes hardly any demands on its location and is relatively easy to care for. Targeted fertilization can nevertheless promote growth and fruit formation. Normally, however, fertilization is rarely necessary. Excessive nitrogen fertilization, however, tends to lead to excessive shoot growth. Water shoots form, which tends to be more susceptible to pests and other diseases. With over-fertilization, you can put the health of the entire tree at risk. Therefore, pay attention to balanced fertilization, which is adapted to the development stage of the tree.
When is the best time to fertilize apple trees?
You can fertilize your apple tree for the first time when you plant it in autumn (October / November). After the hibernation, you can offer your tree ideal starting conditions so that it can grow well in spring. As a rule, it is sufficient if you mix the excavated plant hole with compost and cover the roots of the tree with it. Alternatively, organic slow-release fertilizer can also be used.
From the following year, you can apply basic fertilization in spring (March / April) and second fertilization for fruit formation (end of June). In general, organic long-term fertilizers are excellent. These are particularly gentle on your apple tree, the soil, and the animals in your garden. Good compost is also a good fertilizer.
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From July onwards you should refrain from applying larger amounts of fertilizer to allow the new shoots to mature. After the last addition of compost in autumn, it is also advisable to cover the circular area around the trunk (the so-called tree disc) with leaves. To do this, simply turn the fallen leaves of the apple tree towards the trunk.
After the last application of compost in autumn, it is advisable to cover the area around the trunk with leaves and branches.
Summary: When to fertilize apple trees?
- Before planting, work some compost or organic slow-release fertilizer into the soil
- Basic fertilization in spring (March / April)
- Second fertilization for fruiting in June
- Last compost in autumn and mulch with leaves
Fertilizing apple tree: which fertilizer should be used?
It is best to fertilize your apple tree with organic slow-release fertilizers of organic quality. These are very well suited for the long-term supply of nutrients to fruit trees, because they release their nutrients in a “dosed” manner. In this way, the leaching into the groundwater can be reduced. In addition, organic fertilizers promote healthy, active soil life and sustainably improve the soil structure. In the case of mineral fertilizers such as blue grain, the nutrients are very soluble. These can be absorbed directly by the plant from the soil solution. At the same time, however, this property increases the risk of over-fertilization if improperly used. In contrast, organic fertilizers are much more environmentally friendly and, when used correctly, support the development of your apple trees more sustainably.
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Organic tomato fertilizer is predominantly made from organic, plant-based raw materials. These are slowly broken down by the microorganisms in the soil. The high proportion of potassium and phosphorus not only benefits tomatoes but also has a positive effect on the blossom and fruiting of your apple tree. Sufficient nitrogen also promotes the growth and leaf formation of your plants.
Fertilizing apple tree: instructions
For basic fertilization, you can spread ripe compost on the tree grate and work it lightly into the soil. Depending on the size of the tree, the amount of fertilizer can be between one and four liters per tree. In addition, you can use organic commercial fertilizers for the nutrient supply. It is best to sprinkle the fertilizer granules on the tree disc to the extent of the crown. You can also poke around 30 to 50 cm deep holes in the lawn every 40 cm in the crown area to introduce the organic fertilizer there. Of course, fruit trees should not be fertilized too much or too little.
Work organic slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting
So that you supply your apple tree with the right amount of nutrients, we have prepared detailed fertilization instructions for you below:
Long-term organic fertilization: Instructions and dosage quantities for apple trees
- Before planting: Work 30 – 60 g / tree (2 to 5 heaping tablespoons) of organic tomato fertilizer into the top soil layers
- Pour the soil and the apple tree used well so that the granules can loosen
- Depending on the size of the tree, fertilize about 50 – 150 g / tree (4 to 12 heaped tablespoons) in the area of the tree grate in spring (March / April)
- A small amount of fertilizer for fruit formation (end of June) supports your apple tree again optimally