Features seasonal feeding apple trees
Fruit trees need good nutrition to form a bountiful harvest. In this review you will find information about when, how and how to fertilize apple trees.
Why and when do you need to fertilize apple trees?
The growth of any tree is due to the energy of the sun and the conversion of its nutrients. The soil contains many macro- and microelements, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, boron, zinc, magnesium, iron and potassium. The main ones are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. When they end or are absent, the tree slows down its growth, stops developing and can die. During the growth of fruits, there is an intensive consumption of available substances. After harvesting, their reserves in the soil should be “replenished”. This is why farmers are fertilizing.
Important! Cold weather during flowering or cold soil limits tree nutrient intake. Therefore, if you need to urgently feed him, carry out foliar top dressing (spraying).
Average annual nutritional requirements of an adult apple tree in kg / 10 m²:
- nitrogen (N): 14–20;
- phosphorus (P2O5): 8–12;
- potassium (K2O): 18–25;
- calcium (CaO): 16–22;
- magnesium (MgO): 3–6.
Types of Feeding
Shepherds were the first to notice the benefits of fertilizers. They noticed that the soil areas enriched with animal manure give more lush vegetation. The peoples living by the rivers used fish or algae as top dressings.
Thus expanded the list of organic fertilizers known to people. The modern chemical industry offers a wide range of fertilizers, which are obtained from mineral sources.
For a fertilizer to be considered organic, it must be obtained naturally from a source of plant or animal origin. From sources of animal origin receive: manure, bird droppings, fish residues, meat and bone or feather flour. From sources of plant origin - peat, algae, compost, straw, wood chips, green fertilizers.Organics are good on all types of soils. Gradually decomposing, such substances nourish the apple tree, maintaining a stable environment for growth. The decay period of organic elements can be from several months to several years. In fertilizers that are applied under apple trees, approximately half of the nutrients can be consumed in the first year of growth.
Therefore, if organic matter was introduced during planting, then the next few years the seedling does not need additional fertilizing. As part of any organic matter, there are obligatory ones - nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as a number of other minerals that can improve the properties of the soil.
Minerals are substances that are derived from compounds of inorganic origin. These can be minerals obtained as a result of volcanic activity, erosion, exposure to moisture and other factors.
Did you know? Some gardeners note that ammonium nitrate (a source of nitrogen) has a unique effect. A tree reduces water intake, and its fruits accumulate more sugars.
They are divided into three main macroelements:
When does an apple tree need additional nutrition?
When it comes to timing of fertilizer application, we can talk about the “right” moment of application. Ideal - before the buds open. This is the beginning of a new vegetative cycle and the plant consumes the maximum amount of nutrients. Timeliness of application is especially important for young apple trees.
Important! Not all fruit trees need annual fertilizer. Plant needs can change, so focus on the strength of growth and feed only those apple trees whose growth is less than 20–25 cm
You can apply fertilizers a month before, in which case they will simply be in the soil until they are claimed by the root system of the apple tree. If the “ideal time” is lost, then the farmers will fertilize until June. It is not recommended to make top dressing at the end of summer or in the fall. The tree will begin a new growth of branches. They will not have time to get lignified by winter and will die during frosts. It is especially important not to use nitrogen-containing compounds in the fall. Since nitrogen is responsible for vegetative growth.
How to fertilize an apple tree in spring?
In the winter months, apple trees, like all deciduous trees, are inactive. During this time, flower buds are preparing for the vegetative cycle. At this time, they do not need food. Due to low temperatures, the roots do not absorb water and nutrients from the soil until March, when the sap flow begins. Spring fertilizer should ensure the growth and fruiting of apple trees. In April, the temperature rises, the buds open, leaves and flowers appear.
Did you know? In order to grow only 1 apple, the tree spends the energy of photosynthesis obtained by 50 leaves.
The root system of the tree is activated and begins to absorb nutrients and water. At this time, the rate of assimilation of nutrients by the roots and photosynthesis in the leaves cannot adequately cover the growing needs of the apple tree. Therefore, the tree mobilizes substances that were stored in the roots, trunk and branches during the previous growing season.Cyclic change of the roots and branches of apple trees in nine age periods of life (the dotted line shows the zone of thinning of the roots and branches, solid - the zone of new roots and branches).
At this stage of development, the key nutrients are:
- nitrogen (Ν), which supplies the buds and flowers with vegetable proteins and increases fruiting;
- phosphorus (Ρ), contributing to the growth of the root system and renewal of root hairs; he is also involved in providing the tree with energy for flowering;
- potassium (Κ), necessary for the implementation of metabolic processes in cells and regulation of water balance; it is also necessary for the redistribution of accumulated substances in the tissues of the tree.
Approximate fertilizer application at this stage:
- 1/3 of the total amount of nitrogen;
- 2/3 of the total amount of potassium;
- 3/4 or total phosphorus.
Top dressing an apple tree in summer
From April to June, after the apple trees bloom, the tree spends its energy on the growth of the fruit, as well as laying the buds for future flowering. The growing season usually ends in June, when such buds are fully formed. At this stage, apple trees make very high demands on nutrients and moisture. Their nitrogen requirements during this period are maximum.However, its amount should be moderate in order to avoid excessive vegetative growth.
Did you know? Archaeologists find in ancient settlements evidence that they used to eat apples as food from 6500 BC. e.
The high demand for potassium is accompanied by increased requirements for phosphorus, boron and calcium. They are necessary for the growth of fruits and the growth of branches. From July to September, the fruits increase in size and weight, the shoots cease to lengthen and begin to accumulate nutrients. At this time, the need for nitrogen is reduced, since it negatively affects the quality and preservation of the fruit. But the need for potassium increases. It is needed to increase the size of the fruits and improve their quality characteristics.
Fertilizer application rates:
- the remaining third of potassium;
- a small amount of nitrogen (20%);
- the same amount of phosphorus (20%).
Fertilizing in the fall
In September, most of the nutrients accumulated by the leaves travels to the trunk and roots of trees in the form of carbohydrates and amino acids. The tree will need them next spring. Additionally, the apple tree can be fed with nitrogen to increase the supply of nutrients, but such feeding should be foliar.
Video: autumn top dressing of apple trees
Fertilizers for planting pit under the apple tree
When preparing the landing pit, gardeners contribute:
- ash - about 2 glasses or 10 g of potash fertilizers;
- superphosphate - 20 g;
- ammonium nitrate - 5-10 g / m².
Important! During the autumn planting of trees, fertilizing with fertilizers is not carried out.
If you have a question whether it is possible to make manure, you should pay attention to the quality of this substance. Fresh manure is a source of active chemical reactions. When using it, the roots of the seedling will burn. Therefore, manure must be matured for at least six months before it can be applied in the form of fertilizer. The same applies to chicken droppings.
Tips and advice from experienced gardeners
Experienced gardeners take into account all the features of fertilizing:
- Too much fertilizer will lead to a large number of leaves and shoots, and not to increase productivity. In addition, the branches can stretch and break very much, which is also bad for your apple tree.
- Not enough fertilizer slow growth and decrease productivity. Poor soil can lead to nutrient deficiencies, poor tree health and reduce its ability to withstand diseases and pests.
Before applying fertilizer, consider the boundaries of the crown. The roots of young trees never stretch further than the branches. But mature apple trees may have a root system, 1.5 times larger than the diameter of the crown. This allows an adult tree to safely tolerate a lack of moisture or nutrients directly in the root zone. Inspect trees annually, measure growth and fertilize as needed.If you have the opportunity, control the biochemical composition of the soil before and after fertilizing. If you grow columnar apple trees in containers, remember that they cannot receive fertilizers in the same way as ground trees. They need to be fertilized every 2 weeks with universal balanced fertilizer, following the instructions on the package.
The larger the container, the more fertilizer the soil can hold, and the less often apple trees are fed. Whatever type of fertilizer you choose, be sure to consider the instructions for use, the age of the tree and the vegetation stage. This will help you maintain the health of apple trees and grow a large crop.