Tomato feed is an excellent apple tree fertilizer because it provides the calcium and potassium apples need. Plan to fertilize your apple trees with tomato feed in late winter or early spring. Begin by removing grass and weeds around the apple tree’s base. Then, mix tomato feed fertilizer with water according to the ratio on the fertilizer container. Next, water the entire root zone of your apple tree with tomato feed until the soil is moistened to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm). Although one application of tomato feed will provide a boost, you can add more fertilizer 1–2 weeks after the first application, to help struggling apple trees.
What are the Benefits of Tomato Feed for Apple Trees?
Fertilizing apple trees with tomato feed in spring helps your trees grow stronger, produce more fruit, and live longer. The nitrogen and phosphorus in tomato feed encourage healthy foliage and root growth. Meanwhile, the potassium and calcium contained in the fertilizer prevent blossoms from falling off, so you’ll get more apples.
- Encourages healthy apple branches, leaves, and roots.
- Eliminates dropped blossoms in spring.
- Reduces the risk of fruit rot for developing apples.
- Tomato feed will help you grow a bigger, healthier crop of apples.
Another benefit of tomato feed for apple trees is that the micronutrients in tomato fertilizer help to prevent apples from rotting as they develop. So, not only will more of your apple blossoms develop into apples, those apples are also more likely to mature into delicious fruit. Although it is marketed for tomatoes, tomato feed is great fruit tree fertilizer. It can also be used for pear trees, as well as for a wide range of smaller fruits and vegetables.
5 Steps to Use Tomato Feed for Apple Trees
Tomato feed can be used to boost the growth and fruit production of apple trees in all stages of life. Whether you have a mature tree that is struggling or wish to establish a new apple tree, follow these steps to fertilize your apples with tomato feed.
Fertilize at the Right Time
The perfect time to fertilize apple trees with tomato feed is in late winter or early spring, before the branches begin to blossom. The reason fertilizing early is essential is because the tomato feed encourages healthier blossoms and leaves. If you fertilize too late, you won’t get quite as much benefit from your tomato feed.
- Fertilize apple trees with tomato feed in late winter or early spring.
- Feed your trees after the chance of heavy snow has passed, but before the tree begins to spread new leaves and flowers.
- Fertilizing early helps to prevent blossoms from dropping off your tree.
Fertilizing your apple trees should be the first task you do for your trees each year. Then, shortly after fertilizing, it will be the ideal time to prune your apple trees. Fertilized, pruned trees will produce larger, higher-quality fruit.
Prepare the Ground
Before you can fertilize your apple tree, remove any grass, weeds, or other plants growing within 2 feet (60 cm) of the apple tree’s trunk. It is best to remove grasses and weeds by hand, since weed killers can attack apple trees. In addition, avoid digging deeply when clearing the ground at the base of the tree. Apples have shallow roots. Using a shovel to attack weeds can damage apple tree roots.
- Carefully remove weeds and grass in a 2-foot radius (60 cm) around your apple tree’s trunk.
- Do not weed with aggressive tools—you could damage your tree’s roots.
- Consider mulching around apple trees to stop weeds from growing there.
To avoid annual weeding, mulch the area around the base of your apple trees. A 4-inch (10 cm) layer of mulch will suppress weed and grass growth. Use a circular garden border to contain the mulch so it does not spread out and lose its effectiveness as a weed suppressor.
Mix Your Tomato Feed with Water
Once you have chosen your tomato feed product, review the mixing instructions on the product packaging. Water-soluble tomato feed is the most effective type for fertilizing apples. Once you know how much to use per gallon of water, mix the correct amount of tomato feed into 3–5 gallons of water.
- Use this water-soluble tomato feed for your apple trees.
- Prepare a large watering container for your tomato feed.
- Add a small amount of water to the container first, followed by the granulated tomato feed.
- Mix the water and feed until the granules have dissolved.
- Add the remaining water until you have the correct ratio of water and tomato feed, according to the product label.
When mixing tomato feed, it’s a good idea to add a small amount of water to your watering container, followed by the granulated feed. Then, use a large spoon or another mixing tool to mix the granules until they are completely dissolved. Follow up by adding the remaining required water. This results in an even mix with properly dissolved tomato feed.
Fertilize the Soil to the Correct Depth
Before watering your apple tree with the tomato feed mix, use a soil moisture meter to check the amount of water in the soil at a depth of 6 inches (15 cm). Make a note of the moisture level. Then, repeat this check in several areas under the branch canopy of your tree. Now, you can begin to water with your tomato feed, to do this:
- Water the ground with dissolved tomato feed, from the base of the tree to just beyond the edges of the branch canopy.
- Water evenly on all sides of the tree so that the root zone is moistened with tomato feed to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm).
- To make sure the tomato feed has penetrated deeply enough to feed the roots, check the soil moisture with this moisture meter.
- If the soil moisture at a depth of 6 inches is higher than it was before you watered, then your tomato feed has penetrated deeply enough to feed your tree.
- For large trees, you may need to mix additional batches of tomato feed to water the entire root zone.
- Water until the soil is moist—stop if the tomato feed mixture is pooling or standing on the soil surface for several minutes.
It is essential to evenly water the entire apple tree root zone. Apple tree roots are shallow, with most growing in the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil. However, the roots can spread a few inches beyond the reach of the branches overhead. By moistening this entire area to a depth of 6 inches, you will feed the roots and provide the essential fertilizer the tree needs for growth and fruit production.
Repeat for an Additional Boost
For established apple trees, one application of tomato feed may be enough to increase your apple harvest. However, newly planted trees—or trees that are struggling—may benefit from additional applications of tomato feed. If you would like to add more tomato feed to your apple tree, wait 1–2 weeks after the first application, then simply repeat the steps for mixing and watering with tomato feed.
- One application of tomato feed is often enough to improve your apple tree’s growth and performance.
- If your tree is weak, young, or newly transplanted, consider adding more tomato feed 1–2 weeks after the initial application.
- Observe your apple tree after each fertilizer application—too much fertilizer can harm a fruit tree.
If you are unsure how much feed your apple tree needs, start with one application. More fertilizer isn’t always better. In fact, overloading the soil with fertilizer can actually burn your apple trees. Fertilizer damage is evident when leaves and blossoms begin to dry up, curl, and turn brown after multiple fertilizer applications.
Should You Use Tomato Feed as Soil Fertilizer or Foliar Spray?
When growing apples, it’s best to use tomato feed as an in-ground fertilizer. This allows the tree to pull the nutrients in the fertilizer from the soil. This will improve the health of all parts of the tree. Plus, the best time to fertilize apple trees is in late winter or very early spring, when there is no foliage on the tree.
- Use tomato feed as in-ground fertilizer for apple trees.
- Fertilizing the root zone in spring promotes better overall health.
- Spraying the leaves of apple trees with tomato feed is generally a short-term solution used to help save struggling trees.
Although spraying tomato feed on the leaves of struggling trees and plants (known as foliar spray) can help to salvage struggling plants, it’s not a solution for long-term health. By fertilizing properly in spring, you reduce the chance that your apple tree will struggle later in the year.
Can You Feed Apple Trees with Tomato Feed?
Tomato feed is an excellent fruit tree fertilizer, and it works especially well for apple trees. To use tomato feed for your own apple tree, follow these steps:
- Plan to fertilize your tree in late winter or early spring, before the tree has bloomed.
- Remove any weeds or grass growing within 2 feet (60 cm) of the apple tree’s trunk.
- Mix your granulated tomato feed with water to dissolve it.
- Water the entire root zone of the apple tree with tomato feed until the soil is moist at a depth of 6 inches (15 cm).
- If your tree is new or sickly, repeat the fertilizer application 1–2 weeks later.
These steps work for all varieties and sizes of apple trees. Whether you’re growing a few dwarf trees or you’re attempting to save an old apple tree, tomato feed can provide an excellent boost.