The Best Way to Mulch & Fertilize Old Apricot Trees

If you own an apricot tree (Prunus armeniaca), you know the enjoyment of eating the plump, sweet summer fruit straight off the tree. This cherry tree relative produces an exceptional fruit tree to the home gardener. In case you’ve got a mature specimen and you wish to optimize vigor and fruit production, a small focus on mulching and fertilization will help a good deal.

Moisture Needs

Like most fruit trees, especially people who have tender skins, apricots need consistent moisture. Moist, well-drained soil full of organic matter helps strike a wonderful balance between moisture retention and drainage. Medium moisture also helps plant enzymes move in the soil to plant roots. A mature apricot tree contains an extensive root system which naturally moderates water consumption.


A 2-inch layer of organic mulch helps keep the soil under an apricot tree evenly moist. It also protects tender roots from drying and lint wind. As mulch decomposes, it obviously enriches the soil and adds nutrients to plant health. A circle of impurities about 6 to 8 feet in diameter is usually sufficient to medium humidity, protect roots and maintain the lawn mower and string trimmer from damaging the back. Pull the mulch several inches away from the back to prevent rot.


A youthful fruit tree demands regular fertilization to keep it growing and bearing fruit. Mature apricots do not need to develop any taller, so their nutritional needs are minimal. Their extensive root systems can generally gather enough nutrition from natural resources, like grass, leaf and mulch decomposition, little soil fauna carcasses and worm casings. Trees planted in lawns or garden boundaries also gain from fertilizer applied to those places. In case your apricot is performing well, there is no need to start feeding it.

Utilizing Fertilizer

If your adult apricot is in good overall health but reveals decreased vigor and poor fruit production, then now is the time to fertilize. Implement a balanced fertilizer, 16-16-16, for example, in early spring (late February or March) and fall (late September or October). Apply no more than 2 lbs of actual nitrogen each year. This usually means that you will apply no longer than 6 lbs of 16-16-16 per year — or 3 pounds per semi-annual program.

Natural Alternative

If you use garden compost as a mulch, it will act as both a mulch along with a fertilizer. The nutrients in compost are natural, nontoxic and slow-release. There is not any probability of overfertilizing or damaging tender roots. You’ll have to replenish compost more frequently than mulch as it will disappear into the soil faster. If you find that two inches of compost is too much, employ a 1-inch layer of compost, then top it off using a 1-inch layer of mulch.

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