When to Fertilize Fruit Trees |Jim Kamas |Central Texas Gardener

When to Fertilize Fruit Trees |Jim Kamas |Central Texas Gardener

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– A question I get every fall is should I
fertilize my fruit trees now and if so, what ratio fertilizer? Again, it’s probably not a good idea to fertilize
fruit trees this time of year, especially with nitrogen. Nitrogen and fall rains can trigger a new
flush of vegetative growth that can leave the plants very susceptible to winter injury. You can fertilize in late winter. I typically like to put nitrogen down after
Thanksgiving when it’s cooler and the plants aren’t prone to grow, but typically, fertilizers
are applied in the spring. 15-five-10 is generally the best idea. It’s really best if you use a soil analysis
or even leaf analysis to determine the specific fertilizer needs, but that’s a generality. Another one I get is, as hot and dry as it’s
been for months, should we water fruit trees or harden them off as we get closer to the
first frost date? Well, we like to keep trees well-watered. We don’t want to push, again, new vegetative
growth to get them winter hardy, but we certainly want to have put on enough water to maintain
the health and viability of the leaves that are on the trees and vines. Neda Smith planted a Fuji persimmon last fall
and it sprouted leaves in the spring, but in summer, the leaves were stunted and the
tree looked stunted. They mulched it and watered it daily. Well, the problem I would think is that I
would guess that the persimmon was planted in very poorly drained site and if they’re
watering and it looks like that, most probably they’ve over watered it and it drowned. A plant that’s suffering too much water and
one that’s suffering from not enough look exactly alike. My guess is the root system is pretty much
compromised, so I’d plant a new tree and I would put it on a berm and incorporate lots
of coarse material to help facilitate internal soil drainage, things like sand, well-composted
organic material in back into the hole, and then make the berm 12 to 15 inches higher
than the surrounding area. That’ll keep some of the roots in contact
with air and water under high rainfall conditions and provide for water and nutrient uptake. Bell County master gardener Rowena Fengal
had problems with her grande dame brown turkey fig. Late hard freezes in winter 2019 killed several
limbs and she got very few figs this year. Then many pale yellow leaves fell, covered
in sooty mold. She also had scale insects. Well, since we’ll go through this again next
winter, cut back to healthy growth after the first hard freeze and do not be surprised
to see more limps collapse. Our freeze events really give our plants a
beating. Small fruit, yes, this time of year. Our fig varieties that came through the spring,
are very late putting on figs. Last year it was mid-June when we started
to harvest. This year, it’s late July and August. Yes, sooty mold, there are some sucking insects
somewhere in that fig tree, sharpshooters, aphid, something and scale, yes, again, we’re
going to have to wait until next winter and hit them with dormant oil applications. The key to getting oil to work in the winter
is mild winter temperatures at the time of application and thorough coverage. Dropping interior leaves. Again, the sooty mold is probably partly to
blame and shade. I wouldn’t be too concerned. Compost, water and weed control, just a good
basic gardening is all that really needs to be done. We’d love to hear from you. Click on Central Texas Gardner to submit your
questions, pictures, and videos.

One thought on “When to Fertilize Fruit Trees |Jim Kamas |Central Texas Gardener

  • The Green Acres Post author

    Thanks for the tips, just the video i've been looking for. We are coming into spring here in Australia 🙂 Liked and Subscribed

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