Pruning and Fertilizing Fruit and Nut Trees

Henry Harrison  |  2/4/2006 12:31:27 AM


February is an ideal time to prune fruit trees. Fruit trees require a certain amount of annual pruning for the production of high-quality fruit.

Peach and Plum -- These trees bear fruit on 1-year-old wood. Because pruning stimulates this type of growth, it is the best means available to assure an annual supply of this essential fruiting wood.

Pear and Apple -- These fruit trees bear their fruit on short growth structures called spurs. These fruiting spurs grow very little each year, and excessive pruning is not advisable because removing spurs may reduce fruiting.

Citrus -- Other than the removal of broken or damaged limbs, citrus requires very little, if any, pruning. Freeze damage should never be pruned until June, at which time the damage can be properly assessed.

Muscadine Grapes -- This vining plant should have been pruned by now. If you haven’t pruned, do so immediately. Cut back to two buds/vines.

Figs -- If all of your figs are being produced in the top of the tree, now is the time to bring the height down to 8’ – 10’. You should have enough fruiting wood for fig production.


Peaches, Plums, Apples, Pears -- 
These can be fertilized now into early March. Use 1 pound/year of tree age, up to a maximum of 8 pounds/tree of 8-8-8 or 13-13-13 for peaches and plums and a maximum of 15 pounds/tree for pears and apples.

Blueberries -- Use one of the preparations sold for azaleas and camellias to fertilize with. These materials serve as excellent sources for the special nutritive needs of blueberries. Use 1-5 pounds annually.

Grapes -- Use 1-2 pounds of 8-8-8 or 13-13-13 per vine, depending on the type of vine. Overly vigorous grape vines are non-productive. Older vines seem to respond primarily to nitrogen, and no other fertilizer may be needed.

Blackberries -- Use 8-8-8 or 13-13-13 at the rate of ½ pound/foot of row in late February and add ½ pound/foot of row of ammonium nitrate in March. Additional fertilizer can be applied after harvest.

Mayhaws -- Fertilize this plant with 1 pound of 8-8-8 or 13-13-13 for every year of tree age.

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