Put your trees to bed for the winter with a full belly.
Most folks fertilize their trees in the late winter and spring. That’s a great time to fertilize, because the plants are either about to grow or are making their big spring time flush of growth, and need the extra energy. It’s also cooler and raining frequently, which can help get nitrogen to the plant roots before it vapes off into the atmosphere.
It’s common knowledge not to fertilize mid to late summer, because the new growth resulting from the fertilization may not have time to harden off fully before that first big cold snap. Nobody wants all of their tree’s progress to freeze off during the winter.
Many orchardists (think pecan, walnut, apple) fertilize their trees in the fall after harvest with great results, and you can do the same with your hard and soft mast bearing trees as well. Wait until the tree has unloaded its fruit, or the leaves begin changing colors to fertilize. This will give it a boost of energy to hopefully handle the cold temps that lie ahead, and the tree will store the extra energy to use first thing next spring. We like to use BioLogic Organix fertilizer, but regardless of what you use, read and follow the label to avoid over fertilization.
For more tips on trees, read “The Best Time To Prune Trees.” Mast trees need care from time to time if they’re going to remain productive. If left unmaintained fruit trees can grow out of control and productivity will suffer. If maintained properly it’s amazing the tonnage a few fruit trees or several mature oaks can provide.