How To Feed & Fertilize Fruit Trees

It’s important to feed fruit trees every year and to feed them only once a year. Fruit trees should never be over fertilized and should be fed when they are at “silver tip” in early spring. Silver tip is when the buds on fruit trees are still completely tight and unopened. The buds have a slightly pump appearance and are a gray silver in color.

Fruit Tree At Silver Tip

Silver Tip On Apple Trees In Early Spring

I  use calcium nitrate 15-5-00 – sometimes called  Norgessalpete or Norwegian saltpeter * Ca(NO3)2* to feed the trees in my orchard.
Calcium nitrate can be hard to find in large quantities because saltpeter can be used along with diesel fuel to manufacture homemade bombs. But it is still readily available in small amounts. Expect to spend between $5 – $20 per tree when fertilizing.

The trees are fed by sprinkling the fertilizer from the base of the tree to the “drip line”. The drip line for a tree is directly underneath the farthest extending branches.
I feed my fruit trees at the following rates:

  • 8lbs. for large trees
  • 6 lbs. for medium trees
  • 1 lb. for small trees




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