Fertilizing Fruit Trees

(Question)

Last year I planted two pear trees on my back lawn and this year for the first time the trees have blossoms. Although I have fertilized my lawn, I suspect that this may not be enough for the trees. Could you please advise as to what type of fertilizer would be best for these young trees and how much/how often to apply. Thank you. Albert
P.S. I am in Toronto and the trees are exposed to full sun.

(Answer)

Hello Albert

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.  Good news that your Pears have bloomed.

An excellent resource with great detail about care and management of trees and shrubs is Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates by Nancy Rose, Don Selinger and John Whitman (Contemporary Books, 2001).

I quote from page 228: “Do not fertilize Pears unless they are not growing well. They should put out at least 6 inches (15 cm) of new growth each year. If they are not growing vigorously with good coloration, fertilize lightly the following spring before new growth emerges. Sprinkle 10-10-10 granules around the base of each plant and water immediately to move the fertilizer into the root zone. The use of too much nitrogen can encourage overly lush foliage growth that is most susceptible to fire blight.

If you prefer organic fertilizers, use alfalfa meal (rabbit pellets), blood meal, bone meal, compost, fish emulsion, Milorganite, or rotted manures.  Bone meal must be added to the soil at planting time to be effective.”    Toronto Master Gardeners strongly encourage the use of organic solutions to all garden dilemmas.

I hope that this information is helpful to you.