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Science-based gardening information for Colorado communities from CSU Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Green Industries of Colorado.

1216 – Fertilizing Fruit Trees   arrow

Growth at less than the recommended rates results in reduced fruiting wood and less fruit production. If you’re starting a fertilizer program for stone fruits such as peaches or apricots, apply nitrogen to the soil around the trees at the rate of one-eighth pound for every one inch of trunk diameter. Take the trunk-diameter measurement one foot above ground level. With apples or pears, apply one-tenth pound of nitrogen for every one inch of trunk diameter.

The amount of nitrogen needed is determined by the previous year’s growth. If more growth is needed, increase the amount of nitrogen. If too much growth occurred, it’s best to reduce or eliminate nitrogen. Keep records of how much and what nutrients you apply each year.

Fruit trees in lawn areas may get adequate nitrogen from applications of lawn fertilizer. In some cases, fruit trees in lawn areas grow too much as a result of excess water and fertilizer they receive from lawns. Do not apply “weed-and-feed” products because they contain herbicides that may be harmful to fruit trees. If fruit production is desired in these instances, reduce the frequency of watering and the amount of fertilizer applied to the lawn.

Excessive pruning also will stimulate shoot growth and should be avoided.

For “Organic vs. Manufactured Fertilizers” refer to message number 1619.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

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