How do i prepare my trees for their second season in ground?

This spring marks the second year in ground for the majority of my fruit trees. They were initially planted last spring and relocated last september/october. This is the first spring dealing with in-ground trees. I have a variety of Apple, pear, plum/pluot, cherry, and apricot trees. They are all planted in native soil on mounds. They were then top dressed with 2-4 inches of hardwood bark mulch. I’ve collected scionwood and pruned them and will be grafting in the next month. The trees had different levels of vigor last year. My cherrys and nectaplum were the most vigorous while the pear trees were least vigorous. My initial plan was to pull back the hardwood bark mulch and add some bagged compost to each of the trees to true-up any issues with settling and I wondered if I should be adding fert like 10-10-10 or something like tree-tone. What about manure or even manure tea? Or maybe soluble fertilizer like miracle grow?

Should I add fert or compost/manure to last years worst performers (Pears) while holding off on fertilizing the vigorous nectaplum and cherries? I know too much fast growth can lead to disease.

I’ve also read that hardwood bark mulch breaks down quickly and creates good soil environments. Should I rake the old hardwood bark mulch back onto the trees and add enough new mulch to get my 2-4 inches or should I replace it all together with fresh mulch?

Looking at my early bud development I’ll like get a small amount of fruit on the apples, cherries, and pears. Probably not on plums but we’ll see. If I do get any fruit set I’ll likely thin down to a couple pieces of fruit per tree. Just enough to get a taste but not enough to stunt the trees or cause problems.

Any advise?

That might not be a bad idea. I would feed fast growers mid-summer, or after fruiting.
Any of the amendments would work. I throw a layer of shredded leaves, add tree tone, and cover with compost. Once bigger, only leaves and compost. I would baby them they have been stressed a lot.[quote=“speedster1, post:1, topic:4695”]
I’ve also read that hardwood bark mulch breaks down quickly and creates good soil environments. Should I rake the old hardwood bark mulch back onto the trees and add enough new mulch to get my 2-4 inches or should I replace it all together with fresh mulch?
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No leave it there, add to it! You can move it to fertilize and such, but for sure put it back! Let it breakdown. Yes hardwood breaks down to the best soil around, good stuff! Quickly too.
Sounds like a reasonable plan and such. I would probably take more fruit. Just thin well. The fruit helps thicken the branches (without breaking!) if thinned right. Do not be surprised if it flowers, but is light on fruit. I have had that happen to young trees. Not a big deal, happens sometimes. So you may get less fruit than you think, keep us updated. Sometimes though they do fruit like crazy even young. I’m not sure why this happens to either extreme?

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Thanks Drew. Appreciate the advice. Funny you mentioned shredded leaves. I had forgotten that I put down a big mat of stressed leaves from my leaf grinder last fall. Those decompose nicely.

Leaves are very good, and one certainly should not waste them. Many times hard to find minerals are pooled into the leaves from the far reaching roots. An excellent source of trace nutrients. My soil is low in manganese, I do add manganese sulfate to soil and as a folier spray, once a year. I had a deficiency 2 years ago, it was easy to tell what it was too. Anyway the sulfate worked, no symptoms last year,.Selenium is also not at all in the soil. Most plants don’t need it. it was discovered as many farmers were just feeding animals local food, and they developed white muscle disease or lack of selenium.