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  • From: Lee Reich <>
  • To:, mailing list at ibiblio - Northamerican Allied Fruit Experimenters <>
  • Subject: Re: [nafex] fertilzing
  • Date: Sat, 16 May 2015 09:01:50 -0400

The ideal is to plan more long-term for fertilization. As you saw, manure’s
benefit was not realized the first season. Bulky organic fertilizers, such as
some manures and compost (which is so low in nutrients that it cannot legally
be termed “fertilizer”), have long-term nutrient benefits. I would suggest
using those and applying them as mulches.

As far as spring vs fall, fall fertilization is fine if it’s applied late
enough, in mid fall or later, depending on the local climate. Plant growth
won’t be stimulated, no matter what, once a plant has experienced sufficient
cold and short days. If a fall-applied fertilizer is organic, with nutrients
locked up in organic compounds, those nutrients anyway won’t become available
until microbes take action the following spring.

Poor growth is not only attributable to insufficient nutrition. Your sandy
soil dries out quickly. Nutrients cannot do anything if the soil is too dry.

Lee Reich, PhD
Come visit my farmden at
<> <>

Books by Lee Reich:
A Northeast Gardener's Year
The Pruning Book
Weedless Gardening
Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
Landscaping with Fruit
Grow Fruit Naturally

> On May 15, 2015, at 1:13 PM, Jay Cutts <> wrote:
> Hi, All.
> I read on a list somewhere (don't know if it was this one) a debate about
> whether to fertilize trees in the spring or fall. I think the argument for
> fall was something about making the fertilizer available for spring growth.
> The argument against fall was that it can cause late growth that is too
> tender.
> I'm not quite sure how fertilizing works. I have a suspicion and wonder if
> anyone can confirm or contribute. We're in a location with very poor soil,
> in fact mostly sand with few nutrients. It's been common for some to
> plants to put on less than an inch of growth during a season. Last spring I
> added both manure and organic corn gluten fertilizer to trees, scratching
> the fertilizer into the top of the soil. By the end of the season, most of
> the trees had still put on very little growth, maybe 1-3". Frustrated, I
> upped the fertilization this spring by putting cottonseed meal fertilizer
> into holes punched in the ground to get more to the tree roots.
> However, as things leaf out this year, I see lots of the trees already
> putting on 6-8" of new growth right away! It's as though the fertilizer
> that they got last spring didn't add to last year's growth but prepped the
> plants for strong growth this spring. Is this how it works, at least with
> the slow release, organic fertilizer I'm using?
> These are all fairly young trees, from a couple feet high to 5 or 6 feet.
> Regards,
> Jay
> Jay Cutts
> Director, Cutts Graduate Reviews
> Lead Author, Barron's MCAT Prep Book
> Lead Author, Barron's LSAT Prep Book (2013)
> (505) 281-0684
> 10 am to 10 pm Mountain Time, 7 days
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