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Pioneering the Future

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Fertilization of apple trees: A recommendation for bearing & nonbearing orchards

Find out the recommended average rate of nutrients, and a program for fertigation and foliar feeding

 

Plant population: 600-700 Trees/ha.
Soil type: light to medium.

 
Phosphate should be supplied according to leaf analysis.
Divide applications into weekly amounts and apply with at least three hours of irrigation.
 
 
 

Nonbearing orchards

The recommended average rates of nutrients (Kg/ha) for nonbearing trees.

 
 

Orchard age (years)

N

K2O

1

50 - 80

50 - 70

2

80 - 120

70 - 120

3

120 - 150

120 - 145

 
 
 
 
 

Bearing orchards

The recommended average rates of nutrients (kg/ha) for bearing trees.
 
 

N

K2O

80 - 125

180 - 240

 
 
 
Phosphate should be supplied according to leaf analysis.
 
 
 

Fertigation

 
Time of application

Nutrient demand (Kg/ha)

Suggested fertilizers (Kg/ha)

N

P2O5

K2O

Multi-K

MAP

AN

Spring to early summer

60 - 90

50 - 100

120 - 170

260 - 370

80 - 160

50 - 70

Post harvest

20 - 35

-

60 - 70

130 - 160

-

10 - 40

Total

80 - 125

50 - 100

180 - 240

390 - 530

80 - 160

60 - 110

 
 
 

1. End fertigation 50 days before harvest.

Divide application into weekly amounts and apply with at least three hours of irrigation.
Fertilization recommendation should be adjusted according to leaf analysis.

 
 
 

A general guideline for splitting K application

 
Growth stage

Share of K2O at stage (%)

Recommended rate (kg/ha of K2O)

Leaf emergence

15

23

Flowering

20

30

Fruit-set

25

37

Fruit growth

25

37

Fruit maturation

15

23

Total

100

150

 
 
 
 
 

Foliar feeding

Fall is an excellent season to prepare the tree to next season requirements in N, K and Fe. As long as foliage is green and active it will readily absorb these nutrients applied by foliar sprays.
 
 
 

Macro elements removed by 1 ton marketable product

 

N

P

K

Ca

Mg

S

-------------------------------------- Kg/ton ------------------------------------------

0.6

0.7

1.3

 

0.9

 
 
 
 
Source: Kinoch: VOLHOUBARE LANDBOU, RSA. Processed by Frans Lourens,Haifa, RSA May, 1999.
 
 
 

Sufficient nutrient range of apples*

 

Element

Nutrient range (%)

Element

Nutrient range (ppm)

N

1.9-2.4

Mn

31-150

P

0.17-0.28

Fe

35-150

K

1.2-1.8

B

28-50

Ca

1.3-1.7

Cu

5-10

Mg

0.24-0.36

Mo

0.5-1.5

   

Zn

20-50

 
 
 
* Leaf samples taken between July 15 and August 15 from Mid-shoot leaves on current season’s growth in accordance with instruction provided with the plant analysis.
Source:  Fertilizing Fruit Crops – Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, The Ohio state University p. 11.
 
 
 
 

Apples – Mineral analysis values

 
 

Mature leaves

Nutrient

Average value

Critical level

 

(%)

N

2.30

1.70

S

0.19

0.08

P

0.30

0.18

K

2.00

1.20

Mg

0.40

0.25

Ca

2.00

1.30

Na

0.02

 
 

(ppm)

Fe

90

15

Al

40

 

Mn

140

35

B

60

35

Cu

20

5

Zn

60

20

Mo

0.8

0.05

 
 
 
 
 

Plant analysis guide

Nutrient sufficiency ranges (source: A & L, Agronomy Handbook, Ankerman & Large Eds.)
 
 
Apples

N

S

P

K

Mg

Ca

Na

B

Zn

Mn

Fe

Cu

Al

Mo

------------------------ % -------------------------

--------------- p.p.m ---------------

From

1.75

0.15

0.15

1.20

0.20

1.00

0.01

25

15

30

100

6

   
To

2.75

0.30

0.40

2.00

0.35

1.60

0.15

50

60

180

200

25

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Plant tissue sampling procedures:

 
Stage of growth Plant part
Five to eight weeks after full bloom 4 to 8 leaves from spurs or near base of current season’s growth
 
 
 
 
 

Base dressing recommendations (kg/hectare)

 
Year

N

P2O5

K2O

CaO

MgO

1st year

48

48

36

48

6

2nd year

42

48

63

36

9

3rd year

50

60

90

40

12.5

 
 
 

Source: recommendations of Agro-Nutrientes Especiales (ANE). (February,2000)