11 Best Fruit Tree Fertilizers | How and When To Use

One bite of a sun-ripened piece of fruit and you’ve got the flavor of summer itself, right in the palm of your hand. Growing fruit trees gives you an even grander seasonal experience plus access to some healthy snacks at the peak of freshness.

But, like all living things, fruit trees need a healthy environment to thrive in and, oftentimes, a little extra boost of nourishment to help them generate all that juicy fruit. Fruit tree fertilizers can provide just the nutrients needed to do just that. Let’s take a look at the different types available.

Best Fruit Tree Fertilizer

If you’re in a hurry then here are my recommendations for both fertilizer spikes and a fantastic organic top-dressing fertilizer for fruit trees and fruit bushes.

Jobe's Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes 8-2-2

Best Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe’s Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes 8-2-2

Controlled-release fertilizer spikes provide essential nutrients all season, for bumper fruit crops.

Down to Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer 6-2-4

Best Top Dressing

Down to Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer 6-2-4

OMRI-certified Organic fruit tree fertilizer with added calcium. Perfect for all fruit trees and fruit bushes.

By the way, our site is supported by visitors like you. Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! You can find out more here.

Choosing the Ideal Fruit Tree Fertilizer

Fruit trees will produce larger, healthier fruit in bigger quantities when they have access to the right combination of macronutrients. In particular, to ensure continued growth and fruit production fruit trees need nitrogen, and the amount they require is largely dependent on the previous year’s growth.

Other macro and micronutrients should be supplemented depending on the results of regular soil pH tests. For example, trace elements including calcium can help to increase yield in the year following a poor harvest, and boron encourages flower production and fruiting.

Oregon State University warns of the importance of remembering that you only need to apply what your soil lacks and what your plant needs when it comes to fertilizing fruit trees.

This means that choosing the right fruit tree fertilizer for your needs is all about testing the soil pH before you fertilize, as well as understanding the age of your trees and what fruit you are growing. In addition, the number of fruit trees you have and whether they are pot or ground-planted will also help you determine which product to buy.

Most fruiting tree varieties need no fertilizer at all for the first year after planting. Then, from year two onwards, and only after a soil pH test has determined any deficiencies, fertilizing can commence in the Spring and again at the beginning of summer.

If you are lucky enough to have space for an orchard, or even a cluster of fruit trees that need fertilizing, the most cost-effective and labor-saving feeding option will be slow-release granules. If on the other hand, you have one or two potted fruit tree specimens you may decide that spikes are for you.  

Understanding N-P-K Ratio

Establishing the NPK requirements for your fruit trees becomes more straightforward once you have conducted a soil test analysis. Once you have the results, you will be able to determine the right balance of macronutrients and any supplemental trace elements that may be lacking in the soil.
A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 6-2-4 contains 6% nitrogen, 2% phosphorus, and 4% potassium. Every plant requires these macro-nutrients for optimal health. Different NPK ratios are designed to support varying environmental conditions, like soil quality.

  • Nitrogen (N) – is the most important macronutrient in fruit tree growth and crop production. It is a vital component in the production of chlorophyll and successful photosynthesis. Without nitrogen, the foliage would not be green, and maturity would not be possible.
  • Phosphorus (P) – is required for healthy root development and an abundant crop yield.
  • Potassium (K) – helps plants to absorb and circulate water, oxygen, and nutrients and helps to protect them against temperature extremes and susceptibility to pests and diseases.

All fruit trees need these three primary macronutrients to be able to grow and produce fruit but how much they need is dependent on the outcome of a soil pH test.

Fruit Tree Soil pH and Nutrient Uptake 

Fruit trees grow best in a soil pH ranging between 6.0 and 6.5. Testing pH before planting and then annually as your fruit trees grow is an ideal way of establishing any nutrient deficiencies.
Nutrient deficiency symptoms in fruit trees include stunted growth or low yield where they may be lacking in nitrogen, chlorosis which is typically related to iron deficiencies, and susceptibility to diseases which is most linked to an inability to absorb calcium.

Fast Release vs Controlled Release

You’ll notice from our selection of best fruit tree fertilizers that we have focused our top eleven picks exclusively on natural and organic fertilizers. The reason for this is simple, fruit trees respond really well to soil environments that have been nourished with organic matter. But, let’s face it, eating the fruits of our labor that have been fertilized with all-natural ingredients rather than any synthetic chemicals is better for us too, right?

For the most part, these organic fertilizers come in three main varieties:

Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes

Slow-release spikes are one of the easiest to use, especially if you have more than one fruit tree. Pre-measured and compact for easy storage, they carry far less risk of run-off and root burn.

Watering in the spike, is not necessary either, as nutrients are released by micro-organisms that naturally live in the soil. This method of application also carries the added benefit of stimulating an increased resistance to tree disease and pests.

Granular Fertilizer

Granules are another slow-release choice. Heavily concentrated, they provide consistent nourishment for up to nine months. No watering is needed to activate and is less likely to leach into nearby surfaces or groundwater.

Apply them by simply sprinkling them around the base of your tree or working them into the soil for faster feeding. For larger, orchard applications, a seed spreader can be used for a lighter workload.

Powdered Fertilizer

Powder fertilizers can be applied either directly into the soil around your tree’s base or diluted in water as a “tea”. This type is perfect for larger applications such as in orchards or on farms but does require a bit more effort in smaller spaces. While these are some of the most economical, they do carry a risk of root burn if exact measurements are not used.

Liquid Fertilizer

Liquids can conserve water and time, especially if you choose one versatile enough to use when watering the rest of your garden. Nutrients are carried to the root system through the soil where the biggest benefit is the speed at which nutrients reach the roots. Liquid feeds also tend to keep the pH levels in your soil balanced. However, too much of a good thing can cause over-feeding and may lead to root burn so always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and measurements.

You can also spray your fruit trees with diluted organic foliar feed throughout the growing season.

Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer Vs Synthetic

Choosing an organic or synthetic (inorganic) fertilizer is a matter of preference and end goals. A basic understanding of the difference can help you make a solid fertilizer choice.

Organics are plant or animal-based containing manures and other natural materials. Inorganics are manufactured with minerals and synthetic chemicals. Organic feeds contain lower nutrient levels but can nourish fruit trees for longer periods of time while also improving the soil. Using inorganic fertilizers can result in a higher yield of larger fruits. However, they can also potentially contaminate nearby water sources.

Numbers on Fertilizer Packaging Explained in 60 Seconds

11 Best Fruit Tree Fertilizer Reviews

Through personal trial and error and experience of growing fruit trees over the years, I know that no single fertilizing formula is perfect for every situation. Everyone’s soil pH is different and we all have our own personal preferences when it comes to gardening.

Some folks prefer an all-purpose product that can be used for a variety of garden-feeding requirements. Other people will need a very specific product for a single purpose, such as for a nutrient deficiency, to support an ailing fruit tree, or to increase yield. With this in mind, my pick is based on a broad selection of excellent products for you to use when fertilizing your fruit trees at home.

How We Tested The Products

I’ve looked at the quality of the fertilizer ingredients, its overall performance, the product’s ease of use, as well as the level of customer satisfaction taken from thousands of customer reviews across all major retail platforms.

I’ve also provided examples of when and why you might choose to use a particular product. This might include the time of year you apply it to tackling a particular deficiency or where it’s been planted.


  • Great value for money
  • One application can be sufficient for the whole season
  • Improves soil condition while also fertilizing
  • Contains patented Biozome for safe, eco-friendly feeding


  • Needs to be stored in a cool, dry place

The Trial: Using Jobe’s organic spikes worked out to be a cost-effective solution for fertilizing a couple of 3-year-old apple trees. The results of a soil pH test had previously revealed no deficiencies so I was satisfied that using these 8% nitrogen spikes would be just the thing to support the continuing development of these specimens while also encouraging a plentiful harvest.

The application could not have been more simple, they just needed to be sunk into the soil around the drip line and away from the trunk in Spring. The slow-release spikes last 8 weeks, which meant that I didn’t feel the need for any further applications that season. However, I may have supplemented with a second application come early summer if fruit production looked slow to develop.

The Results: If growing fleshy, flavorful fruits are your thing, then I can’t recommend these fertilizer spikes enough, especially if you have a small number of trees to feed and your soil is nutrient dense. Foliage growth remained healthy all season long and fruit production resulted in a high yield. Plus the growth rate of these trees was above average for the season which will stand them in good stead for the following year.

Jobes Fruit tree spikes
Jobes Fruit tree spikes
Fruit Tree spikes are perfect with pets
Fruit Tree spikes are pet safe
Fruit tree spike fully inserted
Fruit tree spike fully inserted

How To Use: Hammer the spikes fully into the soil, this has the advantage of keeping them away from pets and children. Evenly space them around the tree drip line in spring. The number of spikes to apply depends on trunk diameter, instructions are on the packet. I used three spikes for a tree with a 3-inch trunk.

Customer Reviews: All over the retail spectrum, customers have been amazed by the ease of use and results of this product. With the added bonus of being so economical, Jobe’s fruit and nut fertilizer spikes boast a global consumer rating of 4.7 / 5. Buy Jobes Fruit & Nut online at Amazon.com


  • Added calcium for optimum fruit development
  • Certified organic by the OMRI
  • Versatile use for fruit trees, shrubs, and canes


  • May require more products for optimum results

The Trial: Most people’s allotments or vegetable patches are a mixed bag of fruit and vegetable specimens and mine is no different. Needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for quality organic products that offer value for money.

Cut to this slow-release organic fertilizer from Down to Earth that has been certified as fully organic by the OMRI which I used last season for all of my fruiting trees and bushes, including a couple of peaches, apple trees, plums, plus raspberry canes and strawberry bushes. I’ve even attempted growing mangoes and guava under glass.

I mulch annually but my allotment always seems to struggle when it comes to the size and quality of fruit growth so using this 6-2-4 NPK formula with added calcium was a no-brainer. As per the manufacturer’s instructions, I began fertilizing in the Spring and re-applied in the summer when fruit production was underway.

The Results: I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the fruits produced when using this fertilizer. I also loved that the majority of the trees and bushes faired surprisingly well despite the long periods of hot weather that the summer months brought.

Another great attribute of this ethically-minded company is its attention to detail and know-how about fertilizing specific varieties of fruit trees and shrubs. Their packaging and website provide fertilizing instructions for pomme fruit and stone fruit separately and even provide different instructions for young and mature trees. They really have thought of everything and you can check Down To Earth’s latest prices online here.

How To Use: For young trees, sprinkle 1 or 2 cups of fertilizer per inch of the trunk directly beneath the dripline. Repeat this 3 times per year: Once in spring after flowering, another one month later, and then a third application another month after that.

For mature trees, apply twice per year, once in spring after flowering and another in mid-summer. You’ll need to measure out the required quantity (depending upon the size of the tree and type of tree) and sprinkle it directly onto the soil. The fertilizer will need digging in and I like to then water the area I’ve just dug to start activating the fertilizer straight away.

Customer Reviews: Customers across the gardening spectrum are really impressed with just how fast they see new growth and more abundant fruit. While some have reported the need to increase application rates, customers are very pleased with the results, earning this an impressive 4.7 / 5 stars.


  • Contains no chicken manure or extra fillers
  • Safe around people, pets, and wildlife


  • May exhibit a slight, natural odor   

The Trial: A colleague with a small collection of young cherry trees handled this test. She has them located in containers on her sunny patio making them susceptible to periods of drought and soil leaching.

It made sense therefore to use this 5-5-2 NPK slow-release formula from Dr. Earth. Not only does it contain their trademark TruBiotic formula that releases organic microbes and mycorrhizae into the soil, but the enhanced phosphorous can also stimulate robust root development.

Okay, so she had to endure a slight ‘au natural’ odor, but unlike many 100% organic products, this one is safe to use around children and pets.

The Results: A bumper crop of super sweet cherries, and a beautiful canopy of lush, green foliage throughout the season. An above-average growth rate was also noted, which is likely a result of how well the roots had developed and become established.

How To Use: For established fruit trees, work 1 cup of fertilizer into the soil within the drip line every three months throughout the growing season. For new trees, add 2 cups to the planting hole and water thoroughly. 

Customer Reviews: Gardeners can’t stop raving about just how fast they see results with this product. Trees that seem to be failing perk right up after one application. “Very good value for money.” at 4.5 / 5 stars.


  • Fast results with ailing trees
  • Resealable bag for easy pouring and storage
  • Balanced N-P-K for use in containers or garden beds


  • Supplemental nitrogen may be required, especially in Spring           

When a granular choice is preferred, Jobe’s has you covered. This is ideal for use for fruit trees planted in nutrient-dense soil, especially for summer fertilizing and when flowering and fruiting are in full swing.

How To Fertilize: For established trees, work 1 1/2 cups into the soil around the tree base per foot of tree spread. Can also be worked into nutrient-deficient soil in advance of planting. Check out Jobes Fruit & Nut at Amazon.com

Customer Reviews: Across many different retail sources, customers were very happy with this product’s ease of use and how quickly they saw results in stagnated trees, earning this granular version a rating of 4.5 / 5 stars.


  • Versatile enough to benefit shade and full-sun fruit and ornamental trees
  • Shows quick results with ailing trees


  • Larger amount of product may be needed to achieve the expected results
  • Not intended for potted trees   

This effective, organic granular feed from Espoma is amazingly versatile. Healthy and beneficial for both sun-loving fruit trees and shade-preferring ornamentals. The 6-2-3 NPK balance plus exclusive Bio-tone microbes equal consistent, slow-release nutrition for all types of non-citrus fruit trees with just two seasonal applications.

I love the ease of use of this fertilizer. It’s a slow-release action which means I can simply apply the first application in spring that I know will boost the nutrient intake of my fruit trees and another in fall to replenish nutrients that need replacing in the soil and prepare it ready for the following year.

This is a great one for fruit trees that are generally healthy and don’t have any specific fertilizer requirements. Use it for Apple Trees, Pear Trees, Plums, and Cherry Trees. It is also great for use on nut trees such as Pecan, Chestnut, and Walnut trees. Check out Tree-Tone’s latest price on Amazon.com as you can often find discount vouchers or multi-buys on Espoma products.

How To Fertilize: Measure out 9 cups (3 lbs) of fertilizer per inch of the tree trunk. Sprinkle the required measure of granules onto the soil around the tree trunk and within the dripline. Apply once in early spring and again in early fall.

Watch the 2-minute video below for a great guide on how to use Espoma Fruit Tree Fertilizer.

How to Fertilize Trees

Customer Reviews: Customer feedback shows how happy gardeners are with how quickly this product shows results on everything from a fledgling crepe myrtle to a 50-year-old pecan tree. Earning this a 4.7 / 5 stars. 


  • Broad application benefits include berry bushes and citrus trees
  • Improves the flavor and texture of the fruit
  • Increases soil condition and decreases the risk of root burn


  • May exhibit a slight organic odor

This slow-release, organic granular fruit tree feed from Kellogg’s has a unique and broad reach of application for fruit plants, trees, and shrubs. Fortified with essential microbes and mycorrhizal it will encourage strong, healthy root growth and bigger, better fruits. It is also listed as certified organic by the OMRI so you can be assured it’s full of the good stuff.

Try it as a fertilizer for citrus trees or on your berry bushes as well as all kinds of fruit and nut trees. This has been selected in the top pick list for its performance and value as an all-around tree fertilizing product. Buy Organic Plus online here.

How To Fertilize: For new plantings, mix two cups into the planting hole. For established trees, incorporate 1 cup per inch of trunk diameter, then repeat every 3 months. For potted trees and bushes, apply 2 tablespoons for every 6 inches of pot diameter and repeat every 2 months.

Customer Reviews: Consumers based their high rating of this product on reasonable price, convenient package size, and ease of use. While also being delighted at the increased flavor, texture, and juicy-ness of their fruit, awarding this product an impressive 4.7 / 5 stars.


  • Can be used on both container and ground-planted trees
  • Safe for people, pets, and the environment


  • Short shelf-life. Must be used in one season.

For dependable, consistent nutrient delivery to your fruit and citrus trees, use these simple-to-use feed spikes from Jobe’s Organics. Presented in a sealable pouch for easy storage, the pre-measured 3-5-5 NPK balance improves soil quality while boosting fruit and foliage growth through robust root formation.

How To Fertilize: Insert one spike for every 6 inches of overall tree diameter, every four to six weeks, without fear of runoff when watering, for lush, eco-conscious results.

Customer Reviews: Gardeners love the ease of use of this slow-release product while getting the added bonus of having trees with a strong resistance to disease. Offering 4.5 / 5 stars. Buy Citrus Spikes online here.


  • Certified by the OMRI for organic use
  • Dependable results season after season
  • Versatile use for fruit, citrus, and nut trees


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to keep people and pets safe

A more citrus-specific option now with this 6-3-3 NPK organic mix from Down to Earth. The higher ratio of nitrogen means you can expect more blossoms and juicier fruit. This is a great fruit tree fertilizer for getting essential minerals and micronutrients straight to the roots and seeing results quickly.

It’s the micronutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, and sulfur as well as feather meal, fishbone meal, alfalfa meal, greensand, and basalt that sets this one apart from other fruit tree fertilizers. These all-natural ingredients help promote new growth, more fruit, and fragrant blossoms and you can pick up some for your tree fertilizing needs here.

Down to Earth have a great range of fertilizer products to suit lots of gardening needs. This particular mix is specific to nut, fruit, and citrus tree fertilizing but personally, I’m a big fan of their acid-mix formula that’s particularly good as a strawberry fertilizer.

How To Fertilize: For new plantings, mix 1 cup into the soil and water well. For established trees, sprinkle 1 cup of feed per 1” of trunk diameter then repeat 3-4 times per year. This product can also be diluted as a liquid feed.

Customer Reviews: Beginner citrus growers seem especially impressed with this product. Its simple method of application and nutrient delivery show quick and positive results for those still learning the ropes, earning this a solid 4.5 / 5 stars.


  • High fruit yield and overall tree health
  • Exclusive Bio-Tone microbes for larger or more flavorful fruit


  • Frequent watering may result in increased applications needed  

This slow-release, granular option from Espoma provides a long-lasting stream of nutrients to the entire tree while improving soil quality. With exclusive Bio-Tone microbes and a 5-2-6 NPK balance, it’s formulated to produce lush foliage and bountiful fruit. This is available to buy Citrus Tone online at Amazon.com

How To Fertilize: For established trees, work into the soil evenly, along the drip line. For potted trees and shrubs, mix in one teaspoon for every 4 inches of pot diameter. Repeat every 60 days from early spring to autumn.

Customer Reviews: Gardeners are so happy with the results from this product that they’ve been purchasing new fruit trees to expand on their success! 4.5 / 5 stars. 


  • No organic odor
  • Increased leaf and fruit production
  • Zero-waste packaging


  • Higher application frequency than other options

These capsules from Earth Pods are a fantastic choice for potted fruit trees in your outdoor and indoor spaces because they don’t exhibit any organic odor. This feed with a 2-2-4 NPK carries no risk of root burn and requires no measuring.

Earth Pods have racked up quite a following in recent years for their all-natural fertilizer ingredients and ethical, zero-waste packaging. Their capsules are also available to buy for a whole range of indoor and outdoor plants and shrubs from succulent fertilizers to vegetable plant food. Buy Earth Pods online here.

How To Fertilize: Push capsules into the soil near the trunk or open the capsules and sprinkle the contents onto the soil prior to watering. Repeat every 2-3 weeks.

Customer Reviews: Gardeners who have never offered feedback before are lining up to share how surprised and happy they are with the fast and lush results they’ve seen with Earth Pods fertilizer capsules. Garnering this a well-earned 4.6 / 5 stars.


  • Versatile enough for use for most fruit, citrus, and nut trees
  • No organic odor


  • Slightly higher purchase price per bag   

This granular option from Fertilome is perfect for trees in containers or garden beds. Increased nitrogen promotes vigorous fruit production resulting in a higher yield of crops. Plus, zinc protects against rosette disease.

How To Use: Spread granules evenly around the soil at the drip line and water thoroughly. The amount will be specific to your tree’s size and fruit type.

Customer Reviews: Consumers are delighted with the abundance of fragrance fruits after using this product, even in winter. “Definitely worth the price after seeing these results.” Awarding Fertilome’s Fruit, Citrus & Pecan fertilizer 4.4 / 5 stars. Buy Fertilime Fruit & Nut online here.

When To Fertilize Fruit Trees

Now that we’ve covered some of the best options for fruit tree fertilizers, let’s talk about when to fertilize. Yes, each product label comes with basic instructions, which is great. But, these products cover a broad range of fruit-bearing trees. And, there are a few important points to consider for specific types of fruit.

For example, what regional zone is your garden or orchard? Feeding times may need to be adjusted according to when spring and fall begin. How old is your tree? Younger trees typically follow a different fertilizing schedule which then changes once they reach fruit-bearing age. What is the condition of your soil? Sandy, higher clay content? Is the pH balance right for the type of fruit tree you have? Is it lacking in nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium? You’ll want to do a soil test using a soil pH test kit BEFORE fertilizing so you know exactly how to amend the soil for a healthy, thriving tree if needed.

If you happen to live in the southern hemisphere, you too can benefit from these recommendations, simply disregarding the referenced months. After making the necessary adjustments to your soil, you’re ready to give your fruiting beauties the individual attention they need.

When To Fertilize Apple Trees

Apple Trees benefit most from three feedings. First, in early spring (pre-flowering), the second, just after flowering (to encourage thorough fruit formation), and ONLY IF NEEDED, a third to bolster foliage growth. Too much nitrogen will inhibit any growth of new foliage during the summer months.

When To Fertilize Peach Trees

Unless your soil needs amending, peaches need no fertilizing until they reach fruit-bearing age. For established trees, two feedings will suffice. Once in early spring before flowering and again just after will give your peach trees the feed they need for vibrant leaves and juicy fruit.

When To Fertilize Fig Trees

Ground-planted figs are slow-growers and are very easy to care for, rarely requiring extra feeding. Fertilize figs only if you observe slow growth or yellowing leaves. However, in containers, with no other access to nutrients, you’ll need to feed and water them once a week.

When To Fertilize Citrus Trees

Citrus Trees benefit from three good feedings per growing season. Because they typically grow in more temperate climates, the first feeding should be in winter (around February). The second is in late spring (after flowering) with the final dose of citrus tree fertilizer being applied in late summer.

When To Fertilize Mango Trees

Well-established mangoes only need feeding once each spring, summer, and fall. New plantings require only two, once in mid-spring and again in midsummer until they reach fruit-bearing age. If you grow citrus trees, you can actually feed mangoes and citrus on the same schedule.

When To Fertilize Cherry Trees

Like figs, cherries are light feeders that don’t really need extra help. But if the soil doesn’t provide what they need or if the tree is failing, the general consensus is: for potted trees, every 4-6 weeks and every 2-3 months for larger, mature trees.

When to Fertilize Banana Trees

Fertilizing banana trees should start in early spring, as this plant is as much about its foliage as its fruit in most countries. So I would recommend a switch from nitrogen-rich to potassium-rich banana tree fertilizer as soon as the flowers begin to appear.

Fertilizing Fruit Trees In Containers

Of course, having an orchard full of fruit trees is every homesteader’s dream. But, what if you live in an urban setting? Maybe in a townhouse with a small yard or even an apartment with only a tiny, little balcony? Are you out of luck? Absolutely not! Dwarf fruit trees were cultivated for just this type of living, giving urban dwellers the experience of growing their own healthy snacks and breathing in all that amazing fruit-blossom fragrance.

Even in a small outdoor space, you can easily grow a fruit tree or two in some large, decorative pots. But, unlike trees grown in the ground, they need a bit more attention. The frequent watering needed will inevitably result in soil and nutrient run-off as the excess water drains. So, more frequent feeding will also be necessary.

As we’ve seen, many fruit tree fertilizers have higher levels of nitrogen. This is really beneficial for full-sized fruit and nut trees. In containers though, the excess nitrogen will focus more of the tree’s energy on producing new leaves and less on producing flowers and fruit. So, when choosing a fertilizer for potted trees, be mindful of that first number in the NPK ratio. It should be equal to or lesser than the other two.

Unless….you have dwarf citrus or avocado trees. In contrast to other types, these depend on generous amounts of nitrogen to produce all that lovely fruit. So, that first NPK number will need to be higher.

Fertilizing Fruit Tree In The Ground

Compared to potted ones, established fruit trees growing in garden beds or orchards, have some different needs. Simply due to the larger and more diverse environment, they grow in. The best advice? Get to know your trees. Understanding their specific needs means your fruits will meet and maybe even exceed your expectations, season after season.

One way to get chummy is to simply observe them. When do the first leaves appear? When do they flower and start to bear fruit? When you’ve established the timing of these events, you’ll know exactly when to fertilize them.

Depending on the type of fruit you’re growing, you may need to feed them two or three times per growing season (label instructions may suggest differently, depending on the application type, and that’s fine). Typically, this would start in early spring, just before flowering. This is when the trees begin their growing cycle and absorb the most nutrients.

If you live in a more temperate climate, you can apply the first dose as early as February, but not before. A second time, after flowering and before the fruit starts to appear. Then a third time, only if needed, in the fall. If fertilized too late, new growth on certain fruiting trees will be susceptible to frost damage which can extend to other parts of the tree.

So again, when you know what to look for, your garden-planted fruit trees will be happy to tell you what they need and when.

Verdict: Best Fertilizer for Fruit Trees

It’s always a pleasure for us to share our decades of collective gardening experience with you and we hope that we’ve been able to provide you with some great “fruit for thought”. We’ve covered all different types of fruit tree fertilizers and the 11 best ones we’ve found on the market, based on carefully researched customer feedback, ease of use, and value for money.

Considering the different needs of each type of fruiting tree we’ve discussed, you might go for Jobe’s Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes if you want a slow-release fertilizer that needs just one or two applications per year. Once in spring to boost nutrient intake and another in fall to replenish nutrients in the soil ready for the following year.

Jobe's Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes 8-2-2

Best Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe’s Fruit Tree Fertilizer Spikes 8-2-2

Controlled-release fertilizer spikes provide essential nutrients all season, for bumper fruit crops.

Or, is your preference for the ethically-minded Down to Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer? Another slow-release granular option that have you covered with instructions on how to administer the fertilizer depending on what fruit tree or shrub you are feeding.

Down to Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer 6-2-4

Best Top Dressing

Down to Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer 6-2-4

OMRI-certified Organic fruit tree fertilizer with added calcium. Perfect for all fruit trees and fruit bushes.


Colorado State University – Fertilizing Fruit Trees with Nitrogen
Oregon State University – Fertilizing Fruit Trees
University of New Hampshire –Fruit Tree Soil pH