If you are a beginner at growing plants. Sweet Southern Cherry Trees are easy to grow however it may be helpful to know that a very small plant which is planted in the ground will take about 1/8 – 1/4 cup of granular fertilizer. A very large tree in the ground will take 2 – 3 lbs spread around the drip line of the branches (not next to the trunk). This is a very loose estimate, so please read the directions on the fertilizer before applying it. Never fertilize a plant with a chemical fertilizer if the plant looks sick or wilted. If a plant is struggling due to a disease or root problems, the fertilizer will only add stress to it’s life. Try to cure the problem before adding fertilizer. When looking at most fertilizers, they are described by three numbers on the bag. An example would be 10-10-10 or 12-4-8. The first of these three numbers refers to Nitrogen, which is the primary element necessary for good, balanced growth within the Sweet Southern Cherry Tree. Plants that are deficient in Nitrogen are usually not growing vigorously, and sometimes exhibit pale colored foliage as in the case of trees. Not all Nitrogen deficiencies result in stunted growth. Sometimes, the growth is taller and longer with less than desirable branching when Nitrogen is deficient. The second number in the fertilizer equation is representative of Phosphorus. A deficiency of Phosphorus may affect the energy transfer in the plant, and result in stunted growth as well. Also, plants with insufficient amounts of Phosphorus may have poorer root systems. Potassium is the element represented by the third number on the fertilizer bag. Potassium is the major element required for fruit trees to produce fruit. Plants that are deficient in Potassium, are usually growing more slowly than normal, have fewer flowers and seed, and are more susceptible to disease than plants with adequate levels of Potassium. Although the three elements just mentioned are the major elements necessary for good plant performance, there some minor elements that are just as important in consideration of plant nutrition. Minor elements that are not included in the three numbers listing on the front of fertilizer bags are very important considerations when choosing your plants fertilizer. Elements such as Magnesium, Sulfur, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Boron, and Molybdenum play very important roles in providing plants with adequate nutrition. Many times, less expensive fertilizers are sold that contain only the major elements needed, but not the minor elements. Always be sure to look on the fertilizer label on the back of the bag to see exactly what is included in the fertilizer. When you have selected your fertilizer and are ready to apply it, be sure to rake your mulch back to the drip line of each plant. Apply the fertilizer according to the label directions immediately on top of the soil, and be sure to water the plant thoroughly after the application. You can then rake the mulch back around the base of the Sweet Southern Cherry Tree. Although it is tempting to spend less time by not raking the mulch back during fertilization, the results will be less than desirable, if the fertilizer is applied on top of the mulch. Proper fertilization of your Sweet Southern Cherry Tree will lead to healthier and more disease resistant plants, as well as provide you with many more enjoyable fruits. Always, read the label on your fertilizer bag, and follow the instructions.