Pear Tree Fertilizer: Tips On Fertilizing A Pear Tree

Image by Chiyacat

By Amy Grant

When conditions are optimal, pear trees are generally able to uptake all the nutrients they need through their root systems. That means that they must be planted in fertile, well-draining soil with a soil pH of 6.0-7.0 in full sun with a good amount of irrigation. Since life isn’t always perfect, however, knowing how to feed a pear tree and when to fertilize pears can make the difference between a healthy, productive tree and an ailing, low yielding tree.

When to Fertilize Pears

Fertilize pears prior to bud break if possible. If you have missed your window of opportunity, you can still fertilize until June. Don’t apply pear tree fertilizer in the late summer or fall. If you do, the tree will likely produce a whole bunch of new growth which will then be at risk of damage due to frost.

Fertilizing a pear tree will result in increased vigor, higher yields and an increased resistance to pest and diseases. Testing your soil to see if it meets the needs of the tree will tell you if you need pear tree fertilizer. Since pears like a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, they like a slightly acidic soil.

All fruit trees need nitrogen to promote growth and leaf production. Too much nitrogen, however, promotes lots of healthy foliage and less fruit. Also, pears need several months prior to winter to harden off. If the pear has high nitrogen levels after mid-summer, the process is delayed. If the tree is in a lawn area, reduce turf fertilizer so your pear doesn’t get too much nitrogen. Pears also need potassium and phosphorus, which with their extensive root systems, they are generally able to absorb sufficient amounts.

You may not need fertilizer for your pear trees. Pears have moderate fertility requirements, so if your tree looks healthy, you probably do not need to feed it. Also, if the tree was heavily pruned, don’t fertilize.

How to Feed a Pear Tree

The easiest method to use when fertilizing a pear tree is to use a balanced 13-13-13 fertilizer. Spread ½ cup of fertilizer in a circle that is 6 inches from the trunk and ends two feet from the tree. You want to keep the fertilizer away from the trunk to prevent burn. Lightly work the fertilizer into the soil down to around ½ inch, and then water it in thoroughly.

Feed young trees monthly with only ¼ cup through the growing season. Mature trees should be fed each spring with ½ cup for each year of age until the pear is four and then consistently use 2 cups. Keep the area around young trees weed free and watered. Fertilize them two weeks before they blossom in the spring of their second year and thereafter.

You can also use ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer for pear trees. Use 1/8 pound multiplied by the age of the tree. Use less if you have very fertile soil already. If the tree shows growth of more than a foot in a season, cut back the fertilizer the successive spring. If leaves become pale green to yellowish in midsummer, add a bit more fertilizer the next year.

Other fertilizer options should be applied at the rate of 0.1 pounds per inch of trunk diameter measured one foot above the ground. Some of these include 0.5 pounds of ammonium sulfate, 0.3 pounds of ammonium nitrate, and 0.8 pounds of blood meal or 1.5 pounds of cottonseed meal.

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