Fertilising Fruit Trees in Spring

PlantNet's Guide to Fruit Trees

Follow our guide to growing the best fruit trees in the neighbourhood! Get professional tips and tricks on all things fruit trees.

Hooray it’s Spring!

The grass is (still) green, the sun is out (hopefully), and most importantly, many of our fruit trees are happily flowering. I’ll be heading out into my courtyard to do some garden chores, and I thought I’d share with you my September journey to get you started. First up? Fertilising my fruit trees!

Fertilise your garden now.

With the weather warming up our plants are about to head into their peak growing season. For many fruit trees this translates to leaf and flower development which requires lots of energy. If you haven’t already, we can give our trees, and more generally our whole garden, a boost of energy to get them started. There are a range of products you can use, here’s what we recommend:

  • A high-quality controlled release fertilizer from your local garden centre. For fruit trees and other PlantNet® varieties, try to aim for a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of approximately: 14N-5P-22K. You should also look for one that will last at least 6 months. Follow the directions on the label for the suggested dosage per tree. Keep in mind that instructions differ for potted and planted trees.
  • A seaweed based liquid fertilizer or soil conditioner. These products boost root vigour and strengthens your plant against long dry periods and long wet periods – very useful for our diverse Australian conditions. This can be applied as frequently as once a fortnight but are still useful as once off applications.
  • Urea and potash have proven to support high fruit yields for both stone fruit and apples in our fertiliser trials. Urea and potash generally come in a soluble form so that you can dilute them in water and apply from a watering can. Alternatively, place the soluble powder directly around the drip line of the tree then water the powder in. Ensure you apply these products separately to the tree, so that you know the concentration of your mix.
  • Trace element mix is important for fruiting plants because they consume important elements quickly while flowering and fruiting. Trace element mixes replace those consumed by the tree or leached from the ground. Follow the directions on the product label for best results.

Improve your soil with…

  • Compost, worm castings, manure, and blood and bone. If you’re all about the naturals, you can go for it! Just don’t use ‘hot’ manure without composting it or diluting it with loamy garden soil first. Hot manure has too much nitrogen, so using it fresh is a sure way of burning your tree. While organic fertilisers and soil improvements may not get the same high fruit yield that other products support, they do actively improve and support the soil microbiome.
  • Mulch now! Use straw-based mulches around your fruit trees or, if you don’t like the look, bark-based mulches are fine too. If you do use a bark-based mulch, keep an eye on your soil pH levels – bark is great at acidifying soil over time. Microorganisms love mulch because it breaks down slowly. Mulch also keeps the soil at a more consistent moisture level and temperature – what’s not to love?

By mulching you are also increasing the carbon in your soil, which your fruit tree will love! Just remember not to mulch right up to your tree trunk.

Before you go.

If you need more information on fertilising your fruit tree, click our link for details on our Fertiliser Trial for Fruit Trees and our Fertiliser Trial for Blueberries. PlantNet® provides this information as a guide only – please contact a local garden expert for advice specific to your location.