I had a question and couldn't find the answer on here.
I have apple trees I've been struggling with for a few years now, between deer, caterpillars, and other things. I've got recommended fertilizer rates and times of the year, depending on their age, from the growers I purchased the trees from.
The question I have is about fertilizing them I have mulch down. I've had some people recommend pulling mulch back, fertilizing evenly, and putting the mulch back in place. I've heard others say you can put it in a ring around the outside of the mulch and it'll seep in to the roots. I've also heard that you can scatter it right on top of the mulch and it'll be fine.
I want to know which of these is correct or if all of them are. My inclination is to say that I just add the fertilizer to the top of the mulch and water it right after. I feel like it'll travel right through the mulch to the roots, just like rain water does. I think pulling the mulch back would potentially disturb roots and I think that putting a ring of fertilizer around the perimeter of the mulch might burn something. Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.
Also, this is just a regular balance granular fertilizer. I don't think it's slow release. The mulch is wood chips, 3-4 inches deep and 6 inches around the tree base. The recommend fertilizing (3) times a year at the end of March, beginning of June, and the end of August here in SC. I think it's something like a half pound for every year old it is, not to exceed a certain number of pounds. I'm pulling that number out of my hat, though. I have it written down somewhere, I just wanted to give you an example of how I'm doing it.