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fertilize or not - 3 year old trees?

Posted by mes111 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 9:06

As some here might remember, I have 65+- trees in my orchard. Most were planted as bare root in 2012 and I assume they were one year old at the time.

During the summer of 2013 all of the 2012 trees had explosive growth. 36 inches of new growth was not unusual.

I read that the general rule for young trees is that if they put on 24-36 inches of growth they had enough nutrients available and didn't need to be fertilized.

Does that mean that if they grew well in 2013 I don't need to worry about fertilization in winter 2013 or spring 2014?

Also, my trees are mulched with 3-4 inches of wood chips. Can I just apply fertilizer on top of the mulch and will it then work its way down?


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RE: fertilize or not - 3 year old trees?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 9:43


As I remember from your pics there is no vegetation competing with your trees. That and the rapid growth tells me your trees don't need fertilizer. If you do apply fertilizer it should be effective through the mulch. Water soluble nutrients like nitrogen will leach right down. Things like phosphate that don't leach should still reach the upper most roots which will grow right on the interface of mulch and soil.

RE: fertilize or not - 3 year old trees?


Thanx, yes you are right, no competition.

This winter I guess I will relax and contemplate...

RE: fertilize or not - 3 year old trees?

Wood chips are fertilizer. As they break down they not only release nutrients in the chips but, overtime, the decomposing process will involve N. fixing bacteria which will further stimulate growth of trees. This is great, up to a point, but, in the humid region, if trees become excessively vigorous it is difficult to dial it back.

I have trees that I believe are producing fruit with reduced brix after over 15 years of annual mulch application. I now stop mulching and let grass grow to the trunks on trees with adequate to excessive vigor.

RE: fertilize or not - 3 year old trees?


Got it.

As my trees are quite young I will be concentrating on shaping and growing them out over the next two seasons always keeping an eye on the growth rate. I will thin to limit fruit maturing and will summer prune severely to induce fruit bud formation.


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