How to Fertilize New Fruit Trees

The best time to fertilize new fruit trees is in spring, starting after bud-break and finishing by July. This provides nutrients when trees need them most.

One of the most important things you can do for new fruit trees is help them to become established in their environment. Once established, fruit trees are practically self-reliant! The first thing you can do to get your new trees off to the right start is choose the proper planting site. During the growing season, it also helps to fertilize new trees to provide nutrients when trees need them most.

Nitrogen – the first number in the 'N-P-K' value on fertilizer – is what encourages green, vegetative growth. This growth helps create more surface area for photosynthesis; a process by which your trees absorb energy and grow well. Phosphorous/phosphate, the second number, helps encourage root development, which especially important for new plants. Phosphate also helps to encourage blossom and fruit development once fruit trees mature. Potassium (the last number) helps to regulate metabolism and other processes within the tree.

Example of a balanced 'N-P-K' value: 10-10-10 or 12-12-12

The best time to fertilize fruit trees is during the growing season, starting in early spring (around bud-break) and finishing by July. Fertilizing too late in the season can cause trees to grow when they should be shutting down for the winter. This tender new growth, when pushed too late in the season, is also more susceptible to winter injury.

When fertilizing new fruit trees, you will need:

  • Young fruit trees – trees that are newly planted, or trees that have been in the ground for up to 2 years.
  • A fertilizer of your choice, like Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer, or a soil amendment like compost, well-aged manure, etc.


  • Mix fertilizer with water as recommended, if water-soluble.
    • If fertilizer is in pellet form (not water soluble), then scoop out the recommended amount. See product label for specifics.
  • Apply combined mixture over the root zone of new trees, or sprinkle pellet form fertilizer around the drip line of the tree.
    • The drip line is the circular area on the ground beneath the tips of the branches, where water would "drip" during rain.
    • Application may vary depending on package instructions – follow the product label.

You may repeat application of Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer every 10 days, during the growing season, until July.