What is the best time to fertilize fruit trees?

Fruit trees are plants that need a series of care so that they can produce a large number of fruits, and one of them is the fertilizer. But not just any fertilizer, it is recommended that it be natural, of organic origin, since they are for human consumption.

However, if it is the first time that we have one of these trees, it is more than likely that we want to know what is the best time to fertilize fruit trees. Well, it’s time to resolve that question. Then we will know when to add extra “food” to our beloved plants .

When to fertilize fruit trees?

All those plants that produce large fruits, such as fruit trees, need a regular supply of fertilizer throughout the year. This fertilizer will not only help you to have an excellent harvest, but it will also allow you to form reserves that, when winter comes, will keep you healthy and strong until spring.

Therefore, there is no ideal time to pay, since it is all year round . What happens is that during the spring and especially the summer, it is when you will need it most because it is when the plant is growing while the fruits develop.

What types of subscribers are there?

There are two types of subscribers:

  • Background : consists of fertilizing the soil before planting or transplanting the tree.
  • Maintenance : it is done so that the plant can grow normally, three or four times a year without going over the dose.

How to fertilize fruit trees?

To answer this question, it is first advisable to know what are the nutrients that plants need and what are the symptoms of their deficiency and excess:

Nutrients that fruit trees need

Chlorosis is a common problem in fruit trees

Image – Flickr / Archivo de Planeta Agronómico // Chlorosis in mandarins.

Are these:


  • Nitrogen (N): it is essential for the formation of chlorophyll, which is why it is so important during growth.
    • Lack: it will be seen first on old leaves, which will tend to turn yellowish. Also, their development will slow down.
    • Excess: the growth will be exaggerated, but its stems and leaves will be weak.
  • Phosphorus (P): stimulates flowering and fruit ripening, and also intervenes in root growth.
    • Lack: it will be seen in the lower production of flowers and, consequently, fruits. You will also notice it on its older leaves, which will tend to turn yellow. The new leaves will be smaller and smaller.
    • Excess: when there is excess phosphorus, the plant has problems absorbing iron, zinc and manganese.
  • Potassium (K): it is essential for the plant to breathe, since it intervenes in the opening and closing of the stomata (pores) of the leaves, and also makes it more resistant to cold.
    • Deficiency: growth slows down, and old leaves will start to have dry tips and edges.
    • Excess: prevents the roots from absorbing some nutrients, such as iron, zinc or calcium.
  • Calcium (Ca): is an essential nutrient for the development of pip fruits, as well as for the tissues to be resistant.
    • Lack: the leaves will turn yellow, starting with the youngest. Also, its fruits could be deformed.
    • Excess: an excess of calcium will make the roots unable to absorb magnesium, iron or phosphorus.
  • Magnesium (Mg): Without this nutrient, plants could not produce chlorophyll. Therefore, it is essential for the growth of both the leaves and stems and the fruits.
    • Lack: when lacking or scarce, the old leaves will become chlorotic (leaving the nerves green or not).
    • Excess: if there is too much, the potassium could be blocked.
  • Sulfur (S): involved in the production of chlorophyll and proteins. Also, along with nitrogen, it is essential for growth.
    • Deficiency: a sulfur deficit will be seen in the young leaves, which will become chlorotic.
    • Excess: if there is more, the growth will be exaggerated but weak.


They are as follows:

  • Boron (B): is a nutrient thanks to which cells can divide, something essential for there to be growth. It is also important for pollination, as well as for seed development to come to fruition.
    • Deficiency: symptoms of deficiency will be seen in new outbreaks. These will deform and grow slowly.
    • Excess – Older leaf tips will turn chlorotic, black, or brown.
  • Chlorine (Cl): intervenes in the opening and closing of the stomata or pores of the leaves, so it is essential to avoid dehydration of the plant.
    • Lack: the margins of the leaves will turn yellow, and they could necrotize.
    • Excess: its leaves are deformed and become chlorotic.
  • Copper (Cu): with copper, plants can grow normally, since it intervenes in cellular respiration, and in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. Another interesting fact is that it enhances the flavor and color of the flowers and fruits.
    • Deficiency: the young leaves will present deformities, and the stem could lose resistance.
    • Excess: When there is an excess, the plants will appear chlorotic and will grow more slowly.
  • Iron (Fe): it is very important so that chlorophyll can be produced, which is why it intervenes in the growth of plants.
    • Deficiency: young leaves will become chlorotic, leaving green veins. The pace of development slows down.
    • Excess: they will grow more and maybe faster, but they will lose resistance.
  • Manganese (Mn): involved in the synthesis of chlorophyll, so it is important for growth.
    • Lack: it will be seen in the young leaves, which will become chlorotic leaving the green nerves. You will also see their growth slow down.
    • Excess – Older leaf tips will appear brown or reddish in color.
  • Molybdenum (Mo): Mo is a nutrient that is frequently associated with nitrogen. With it, it intervenes in the growth of plants by stimulating the production of chlorophyll.
    • Lack: it is rare, but when it happens, the leaves become chlorotic, smaller in size and with dry edges.
    • Excess: the lower leaves turn yellow and become necrotic.
  • Zinc (Zn): helps metabolize proteins, as well as food (carbohydrates and sugars) from plants. It also makes them more resistant to low temperatures.
    • Lack: it will be seen first on the young leaves, which will grow deformed, smaller and chlorotic.
    • Excess: if there is more than they need, some nutrients are blocked, such as iron, phosphorus, manganese or copper.

What types of fertilizers are there?

Roughly , whether they are organic or chemical fertilizers, these can be classified according to their form:

Liquid fertilizers

They are those that are sold in liquid form, normally packaged in one-liter bottles although there are 5 liters or more. These are usually very concentrated, so their effectiveness is quite fast (usually, in a matter of a few days you already notice that the plant is responding). However, the risk of overdose is high, since the amount they need is very small and it is not difficult to exceed. The indicated dose must be diluted in water before application .

But, if used well, they are very interesting for plants that are in pots since the ability of the substrate to drain water remains intact.

Powder or granulated fertilizers

Powdered or granulated fertilizers are those that, in general, are released slowly, as it is watered. Also with them it is essential to read the label on the container to avoid the risk of overdose, but you also have to do something else: mix them with the earth .

Taking this into account, they are recommended more for crops in soil, since this will make it more difficult to damage the roots. And that’s not to mention that if they were used for fruit trees grown in pots, the drainage could be worse.


Compost sticks are mostly chemical. They are very easy to use, since you simply have to nail the ones indicated on the container into the earth or substrate . The irrigation that you give to your trees will do the rest. As the nutrients are released, the plants will be better.

But, is it recommended more for crops in soil or in pots? The truth is that it does not matter a bit. Of course, it must be borne in mind that, as they are rather small, in a garden or in an orchard they can be easily lost.


Homemade fertilizers deserve an individual section, because they are not sold anywhere (well, technically yes, but you’ll see why I say that). At home, and especially in the kitchen, there are many things you can use to fertilize your fruit trees , such as these:

  • Eggshells
  • Banana peels
  • I think of animals (that they do not want or that is expired)
  • Wood or tobacco ash (that is rather cold. Never add when it is still hot)
  • Vegetable leftovers
  • Tea bags
  • Compost

Of course, we do not recommend its application in plants that are in pots (except for egg shells, tea bags and ashes) because if the drainage is done it could worsen, endangering the roots.

What are the best fertilizers for fruit trees?

Horse manure is a natural compost

From my own experience, I recommend using fast-effective organic fertilizers during the warmer months of the year ( guano ), and slow-release fertilizers ( manure , compost ) in winter. Why? Because in spring and summer is when the tree needs to feed more, while in the cold months the growth is practically null.

In nurseries and garden stores you will find many types of fertilizers, which can be classified according to whether they are of organic origin or compounds (commonly called chemical fertilizers). Since these plants produce edible fruits, and as we said at the beginning of this article, we recommend the use of organic fertilizers.

Now, that does not mean that it is not recommended to use chemicals , such as triple 15, because it is. In fact, they are very interesting (and useful) when the tree urgently needs some nutrient. But be careful, they have to be used in the proper way, following the instructions specified on the packaging and respecting the safety period.

So any compost will do you right, at the right time 🙂, like these:

Compound fertilizers

They are those that in addition to containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, also have micronutrients . For correct use, the instructions must be followed to the letter, as an overdose could be fatal.

Seaweed extract

They are fertilizers that are obtained from the cultures of bacteria, algae and other vegetables. They contain proteins, phytohormones, as well as other essential minerals , but they are very alkaline, which is why they should not be abused. For the rest, a contribution every so often (for example, once every two months) will help your fruit trees to be more productive and resistant.


The guano is nothing but excrement of seabirds or bats. It is very rich in nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, making it interesting for fruit trees . Plus, it’s highly concentrated, so you only need to add a small amount at a time to see results.

Fruit trees need regular fertilizers

We hope this article has been useful to you 🙂.

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