My Fruit Tree is Fruitless!

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By Dorene Schuster – Designer

This is a common and frustrating problem. You might be at the point where you want to get out the chainsaw, but wait…. There could be a good reason. Here are the most common issues / solutions.

1. Your tree could be too immature. If you purchased a small potted apple tree you can expect to wait 2-5 years. Pears trees, you will have to wait 4-6 years before fruiting. Plums 3-6 years  before fruiting. Cherries 3-5 years. Years are measured after planting.

2. Pollination could be the issue. Fruit trees need pollination to set fruit. If your tree is not self pollinating, it will need a pollinator nearby, on average of 50’. What helps pollination is bees, wind, and birds. If these aren’t present, you may get lots of blooms but no fruit. If you only
have 2 trees it is best to plant 2 that will bloom at the same time (example 2 early season varieties, 2 mid season and 2 late season) If you have several trees they will usually overlap in their bloom times.

3. Weather greatly affects fruit production. If a late frost zaps your trees blossoms or young fruit, it will not produce that year. Drought, intense heat or cold will adversely affect your tree and buds.

4. Regularly pruned trees are more apt to produce quality fruit. Fruit will more likely develop on limbs that have good air circulation and light filtration. This is the goal for pruning. Late winter is the best time.

5. Fruit trees that are planted to close together will compete for light and nutrients. If that is the case you will need to prune accordingly for proper light and nutrients. Fruit trees need 6-8 hours of full sun.

6. Soil conditions can alter fruit crop. If your soil is deficient and the tree is week looking this will cause a stunted crop or undersize fruit.l If your tree appears lush with no fruit it could be that is is being over fed. A soil test can tell you more. Apples also need a well drained site.