Longer and warmer days awaken fruit trees and berries from their winter rest. As they begin to produce new leaves and blossoms, plants that are growing in unhealthy soil can get stressed.
Fertilizing container-grown or in-ground fruit trees and berries in spring helps the plants leaf out with enthusiasm, set a good crop of fruit, and stand strong when faced with diseases or bad weather.
Fertilizers specially blended for fruit trees and berries provide a balanced supply of major nutrients, and are available in different forms. Dry organic fruit fertilizers are versatile and give even coverage, which is great for shallow-rooted blueberries, raspberries and grapes. Fruit fertilizer spikes can be pounded into the soil beneath fruit trees, which is easy provided soil is soft and moist.
Fertilize In-Ground Fruit Trees and Berries:
- Water root zone if soil is dry.
- Pull weeds growing close to tree trunks or beneath berry bushes.
- Mow grass growing inside the drip line, the circular area under the outer edge of the branches, with the mower blade set low.
- Follow label directions for fertilizer. Keep fertilizer from washing away and make it easier to apply by pounding a garden stake four inches into the soil. Pull out stake and fill the hole with fertilizer, or use the hole to install a fertilizer spike. In rocky sites, fertilizer can be spread in a circular band three to four feet away from the tree’s trunk.
- Fertilize blueberries, grapes and other small fruits by raking back mulch, scattering a handful of dry fruit fertilizer over the soil, and replacing the mulch. Repeat until the area around the plant has even coverage. Water thoroughly.
Fertilize Container-Grown Fruit Trees and Berries:
- Feed container-grown fruit trees such as figs, apples, tangerines, lemons, and limes with an organic, slow-release fertilizer monthly. Follow instructions on package and consult your Home Depot Garden Center associate about which fertilizer is best.
- Overwater monthly to allow fertilizer residue to drain out of the bottom of the pot.
Tip: Store leftover fertilizers and other garden care products in their original containers on a high shelf in a dry place, out of the reach of children and pets. Use leftover fruit fertilizer in late summer or early fall, when most fruit trees and berries benefit from a second light feeding.