Fruit Trees Care: April

May 06, 2024

April is one of those months as a gardener that really tests our patience with Kansas City weather! The constant temperature fluctuations, inconsistent moisture, and low nighttime temps make it too early to start putting in our warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash. But for this gardener, I spend this time caring for my fruit trees while waiting for the warmer temperatures of May. What kind of care does that involve, you might be asking? Well, let’s discuss it!


While some might not agree with me, I personally don’t like using high nitrogen fertilizers for my fruit trees. High nitrogen fertilizers tend to give you lots of vegetative (foliar) growth but doesn’t necessarily give you more fruit production. I prefer using Espoma Holly-Tone fertilizer, it’s a slow release, organic option that helps acidify your soil. It also has several species of beneficial microorganisms to help your soil thrive! Apply to your trees according to the label’s instructions in mid-April. If you are unsure of your soil’s nutrition levels, you can always send a sample into the Missouri Extension Office for testing and advice on correcting any issues you might be experiencing.

Insects and Diseases

While many insects are not going to be active at this time, diseases can be a bit of an issue this month. On some types of apples and pears, fire blight might be a concern. If you have trees that are prone to infection, spray with Ferti-lome Fire Blight spray every 7-10 days from when the blossoms just start to open until the petals fall. I like to counter other disease issues with an application of a copper or sulfur-based fungicide every 4-6 weeks.


Since precipitation can vary greatly from one year to another, maintaining proper irrigation of your fruit trees. Whether they are established or not, consistent moisture is a good indicator of proper growth and helps maximize the yield of your fruit crop. If we are not getting consistent rainfall, follow these methods.

  • Turn your hose on to the diameter of a pencil, and placing it at the base of your tree for 30-40 minutes
  • If a hose is not available, take a 5-gallon bucket and drill several 1/4’’- 3/8’’ holes in the bottom. Place it next to your tree trunk and fill with water. After the water drains out, place the bucket on the opposite side of the trunk and fill again. For an average young tree, doing this once every 7-10 days should provide adequate moisture.

Tree Wrap

If you have wrapped your tree trunk to protect it from browsing deer or for protecting from sunscald during the winter, it can be removed at this time. If you have high deer pressure, I’ll remind you in the fall to reapply your wrap to protect your tree during the winter months.

In Closing

As always, I hope that you’ve learned a bit more about the fascinating and delicious world of fruit tree cultivation. If you ever have questions, feel free to stop by Colonial Gardens and let us assist you with all your plant health solutions!

 Written By "Trav the Tree Guy" Morcha