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Fruit tree fertilization schedule

April 14, 2011

Laughing Frog Farm

Your first job is make sure the tree you are getting is right for your area. The trees I sell are proven winners in the Houston, Brazos Valley and Gulf Coast area. There is a difference between a peach you would plant in downtown Houston and one you would plant in Bryan.  Also citrus grown for the Rio Grande Valley will not preform well here and those are the ones you will most likely see in most chain stores. I recommend not buying from the big box stores, or from anyone that cannot tell you what rootstock the tree is on. 
You can plant a container grown tree at any time during the year, but deciduous trees will find a more accepting home if planted when dormant (Dec. Jan. Feb.). Plant bare root trees immediately upon purchase. (Consequently don’t purchase them when they are not dormant).
Plant tropicals and citrus after the major chance of freeze is over.
Water your trees deeply once a week in the dry summer weather–more often if the temperatures are over 90˚.
Spread the fertilizer evenly out two feet past the drip line and not next to the trunk. DO NOT USE SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS. Ideally you should get a soil test from Texas Plant and Soil Lab, with organic suggestions.  Micro-life 6-2-4 is a very good organic fertilizer for this area. Cottonseed meal is a less expensive alternative. I blend my own as per my soil report.
Top dress with a thin layer of compost and add three inches of mulch to the drip line but not touching the trunk.  Mulch helps insulate the soil, aids bio-activity, decreases the amount of water you need to add, and controls weeds. It won’t stop bermuda grass, though,  so you might need to lay out five or six layers of wet newspaper first.  Following is a maximum amount you would need for five year old trees.  Use 1/4 dose for second year trees, 1/2  for third year trees and 3/4 for the fourth year. This is for trees planted in the ground. For potted plants use one cup at the same date for 5 gallon pots, 2 cups for 10 gallon sizes and so on.
Fertilization for each tree:
Apples persimmons, pomegranates, figs and stone fruit
Feb. 20 cups
April 1 and July 1 –8 cups
Blackberries and blueberries
Feb  8 cups .
May 4 cups
Muscadines
March  8 cups
May 4 cups
Bunch grapes
Feb 10 cups
June 4 cups
citrus
15 cups March
6 cups April, June and Aug.

How much you fertilize depends on the natural fertility of your soil and the quality of your compost. In the September and February apply five gallons of compost and re-mulch.

I spray my trees monthly with compost tea.  This suppresses disease and helps with insect problems.

Spray deciduous fruit trees with organic dormant oil in Feb.
Thin stone fruits so fruits are not touching one another.

These are guidelines from a fruit grower who has grown fruit in Houston and 60 miles northwest of Houston.  The timelines should be good for anyone withing 200 miles of the Gulf Coast.

I teach classes in the spring and fall related to fruit tree care.

Contact me by email if you have specific questions.

glen@thelaughingfrogfarm.com

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tiffany Beach permalink
    September 20, 2012 3:03 pm

    I am very interested in buying some fruit trees from you. I am just starting out at groing things so I will need some heafty guidance at first. We also live in an apartment and my basil plant is doing great. My shaded porch gets light- but not direct sunlight. I would need to know which trees I could sustain in pots with the kind of light I have. I am also wondering about getting some of our family some fruit trees for Christmas. Our families have yards. Thank you so much.

  2. Jameson Gretchen L permalink
    July 27, 2014 12:19 pm

    Where do I find, or how do I make, compost tea?
    Thanks,
    Gretchen

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