The Best Time to Fertilize Trees and Plants

Fertilizers are specially made to add essential nutrients to trees and plants. The most basic nutrients in fertilizer formulas include nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. These three nutrients are represented in the form of an NPK ratio. Other important nutrients and minerals include manganese, zinc, calcium, sulfur, copper, and magnesium among others. Together, these nutrients boost healthier and stronger root development, stronger stems, greener foliage, more flowering, and higher yields.

Essentially, fertilizers are available in three different types including liquid concentrates, granules, and spikes. Regardless of the nutrients contained in fertilizer, the time you apply the fertilizer determines its effectiveness. Thus, it’s important to learn more about the best time to fertilize different trees and plants. Read on to learn more.

When to Fertilize Fruit Trees

There’re several types and brands of fertilizer for fruit trees available today. Regardless of the brand or type you choose, the best time to fertilize fruit trees is during late winter or early weeks into spring. At this time, fruit trees are about to grow and they require sufficient supply of nutrients in readiness for the growing season.

If your fruit trees are older or mature, you may fertilize them during fall with half the regular application amount. In this case, the micronutrients in the fertilizer will dissolve in the soil slowly such that the soil will be rich by the time the growing season starts in spring.

Basically, trees shouldn’t be fertilized during fall unless they have signs of sickness or deficiency. In fact, adding fertilizer to young fruit trees during fall can stimulate them to grow at a time they should be dormant. Consequently, they may be unable to survive in winter. During winter, fruit trees are dormant and don’t require any fertilizer.

It’s advisable to add fertilizer to fruit trees early in the morning. This is most important during the summer season. That way, the trees will have enough time to intake the nutrients before the temperature rises in the day time.

When to Fertilize Flowers

New flowerbeds should be fertilized before planting. This is to stimulate their growth once planted. As for existing flowers, it’s recommended to fertilize them during the start and peak of their growing cycle. The rule of the thumb is to fertilize existing flowers during early spring. You can start fertilizing them as soon as frost disappears. Stop fertilizing them before frost sets in.

When to Fertilize Vegetables

Vegetables require fertilizer throughout their growing season. Slow-release fertilizers with a gentle formula are great for vegetables since they feed them throughout the growing season. This is because they complete their life cycle within a single growing season. The best time to fertilize vegetables is during spring and summer to encourage growth and productivity.

When to Fertilize Grass

Lawns should be fertilized once they start greening. This often occurs during mid-spring when snow has completely thawed. They also require fertilizer during midsummer. The specific type of fertilizer for grass will also specify the frequency of application during spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing lawns during winter and fall since they’re supposed to remain dormant in that period.

When to Fertilize Indoor Plants

Generally, the indoor plant growing environment is different from the outdoor garden growing environment. Essentially, indoor plants and plants grown in pots and should be fertilized monthly for most types. This should be done during fall, spring, and summer. However, indoor and potted plants shouldn’t be fertilized during winter since they’re dormant. It’s also worth noting that you should only use a suitable liquid fertilizer when fertilizing indoor or potted plants. Avoid using granular fertilizers or spikes when fertilizing them.

How will You Know That Your Trees Or Plants Require Fertilizer?

Not all trees or plants require fertilizer. There’re certain signs that can tell you it’s time to fertilize your trees or plants. For instance, a soil test report might show that your soil has deficiencies in certain nutrients and minerals. In that case, you should add fertilizer that’s rich in the lacking nutrients. Also, if the leaves are yellowing, or they look pale green, or they’re undersized, then it’s time to add fertilizer.

Dead tips on branches and other weakness also tell that it’s time to fertilize the plants. It’s also necessary to apply fertilizer when transplanting plants to stimulate growth and development. New plants also require fertilizer to stimulate the establishment of roots. You can also apply fertilizer to increase the yield of vegetables and fruit trees.


It’s necessary to fertilize plants and trees to stimulate healthier growth. That way, they’ll survive the harsh winter season and recover faster when spring sets in. However, ensure you only fertilize your trees or plants at the right time of the year for the best results. Also, ensure you apply the right fertilizer to each type of plant and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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