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Subject: apple tree that won't bloom
Category: General Interest
Posted On: March 26, 2006
Message: Hi Richbar, In September of 2002, I purchased a number of fruit trees, shrubs etc. from you to form the foundation planting of my new home. Very satiffied generally with the results except for one puzzling situation. I bought (among other fruit trees) 4 hardy apple trees. (Goodland, Norland, Parkland) They have grown nicely and all produced blooms (although not always resulting in fruit) except one of the trees. Although it has grown more vigourously than all the others it has never produced a single blossom. Also, what might be the reason for the other trees producing blossoms but not fruit? (I suspect late frosts?) Any ideas? Thanks. Janet


From: Richbar-Jean (April 05, 2006)
Message: Thankyou for this very common problem about fruit trees. The answer to why your fruit tree is not blooming is in your question. You say that the tree is very vigorous but has never bloomed. That suggests to me that the tree is putting all its energy into vegetative growth and not into fruit production. You can manipulate the tree into fruit production in two ways: with pruning and stressing . Fruit spurs develop on horizontal branches not the vertical vigorous branches that your tree has. Begin training this tree by removing any water sprouts that shoot straight up and develop a good canopy of lateral branches. I would suggest taking our Pruing & Planting course on Sat. April 22, call to pre-register. Your tree would also benefit from stress. Plants tend to set fruit when under stress. Do not give this tree any nitrogen fertilizer this season.Nitrogen produces vegetative growth. Instead ,sprinkle in two handfuls of potash around the drip line of the tree and water this in. Do not give the tree any water this spring. This regime will put the tree under some stress and hopefully you will see results, if not this year year. Next Question: Flowers but no fruit. Poor weather conditions results in poor pollination. Bees are not active when its raining, windy or too cold. No fruit. Pollen will not germinate in temperatures below 8 degrees Celcius. If your trees(plums are notorius for this) are flowering earlier when the weather is too cold, you can try fooling them into flowering later. Next fall, let the frost go into the ground. Then mulch around the tree with leaves. Don't remove this mulch in the spring as it will hold the frost in the ground a little bit longer and keep the tree from flowering too early.

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