The Q&A Archives: Apple Tree Fertilization

Question: When should apple trees be fertilized and what mixture of fertilizer should be given? I have a Macintosh apple tree that produces ample fruit but it is small. My arborist suggested that we prune the tree and fertilize to revitalize it. He didn't give me specific directions, however.

Answer: You can harvest larger, but fewer apples if you thin the crop in June. I remove 2-3 developing fruits from each cluster. This leaves half as many fruits, but because competition for nutrients and moisture is less, the remaining apples are larger and of better quality.

Apply fertilizer in early spring after the snow has gone but before growth begins. Broadcast it evenly on the soil surfaceunder the entire branch spread of the tree. A complete garden fertilizer such as 10-10-10 is best. To determine application rates for ?normal? conditions, measure the trunk diameter 1 foot)above the ground. Apply about 1/2 lb. of 10-10-10 for every 1 inch of trunk diameter.

Hope you have a bumper crop next year!

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