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Use of Compost Tea for Fruit Trees

by Tony
(Sterling, VA)

When making compost tea, what type (bacteria heavy or fungi heavy) do you recommend for the following types of fruit trees? : Pear, Cherry, Persimmon, Apple, Lemon/Lime. These trees are being grown in Virgina, in heavy clay soil, pH is unknown.

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Apr 13, 2010
Fruit Trees Like Fungal Tea
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Thanks for your question Tony. I will try my best to answer it. If any other compost junkies want to get in on this conversation, please share your thoughts and opinions.

Tony, without a doubt, your trees, and the soils in which they are growing, would benefit from a more fungal-dominated environment, thus a more fungal-dominated compost tea. That being said, can you tell us a little more about the culture of the trees right now? Is there any organic matter in the tree root zones? If so, how much?

Unfortunately, if your trees don’t have an adequate amount of organic matter around in their roots, spraying them with a fungal tea, may not be enough. The fungi will have a very hard time getting established without adequate organic matter. Personally, I would recommend several soil drenches using a fungal-dominated compost tea, along with an application of organic matter (i.e. compost). You may want to experiment with this recommendation on a couple of your fruit trees this season, then based on the results, you can decide whether it’s cost effective to treat all of your trees.

Please see the notes about fungal teas on our compost tea recipe page. If you do end up making compost tea, you will most definitely want to start with a good fungal-dominated compost.

If you’re growing in heavy clay, I also suspect their may be an imbalance in your calcium/magnesium ratios, have you had that tested lately?

Looking forward to hearing from you.


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