Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-14-2018, 06:54 AM
Orville mogul Orville mogul is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Villa Bennius
Posts: 620
Apple tree not flowering

We bought a young apple tree at a garden center a couple of years ago, and have been keeping it on our balcony in a 130 liter pot. I donít know the age of the tree, but it is about 5 feet tall and the trunk is about 2 in thick. For the first two summers it did just fine Ė it flowered and produced a reasonable number of decent apples. I pruned it at the end of the first year, but decided not to prune it after the second year. This is now the third year we have had the tree, and for some reason it has skipped flowering completely. Not a single flower, and obviously, no fruit. Other than that, the tree seems to be happy and healthy, with no visible signs of damage or disease. We did have an unusually cool and grey spring this year, but I donít know whether that would have caused it to skip flowering. Any amateur (or professional) horticulturalists out there?
  #2  
Old 06-14-2018, 07:18 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 29,445
Did you thin the apples last year? Some apple (and pear) trees can become bi-annuals if you don't.
  #3  
Old 06-14-2018, 08:19 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 8,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Did you thin the apples last year? Some apple (and pear) trees can become bi-annuals if you don't.
I know very little about apple trees, but I had one at least 50 years old and it bore fruit every other year ... I always assumed it was root stock and that was the reason, someone tossed an apple core and the seeds grew ...
  #4  
Old 06-14-2018, 08:53 AM
Bayaker Bayaker is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: A town on Galveston Bay
Posts: 1,923
Your tree being a bi-annual producer is a likely issue, but it could be many factors. You don't state your location. Is it possible that your tree didn't get enough chill-hours this past winter? Apple trees usually need in excess of 1,000 chill-hours, depending on variety. Alternatively, if you had a colder than normal winter it's possible that your apple variety is not cold-hardy enough. Garden centers(especially national chains) are notorious for selling varieties of plants that are unsuitable for the local area.
  #5  
Old 06-18-2018, 02:47 AM
Orville mogul Orville mogul is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Villa Bennius
Posts: 620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Did you thin the apples last year? Some apple (and pear) trees can become bi-annuals if you don't.
sorry for the dumb question, but what does it mean to thin apples? I don't think I have ever done that. Pruning yes, thinning no...
  #6  
Old 06-18-2018, 05:21 AM
Ionizer Ionizer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 822
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orville mogul View Post
...what does it mean to thin apples?

It is when a tree's young fruits are removed (not all of 'em but a fair percentage) to allow tree to provide nutrition/growth more easily for the apples that are remaining. Works best, IIRC, for smaller/younger tree that does not have a large tissue mass to pull from to provide nutrients, etc.
  #7  
Old 06-19-2018, 04:43 PM
Mangetout's Avatar
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,788
You didn't mention anything about feeding it - it's in a pot - it may have exhausted the soil of basic nutrients or some trace mineral
  #8  
Old 06-19-2018, 11:22 PM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Torrance Ca
Posts: 7,760
If I ever plant another apple tree I will try to buy it directly from a local apple orchard if I can find one. I have zero luck with apples in So Cal.
  #9  
Old 06-20-2018, 11:40 AM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 3,818
It's an Apple tree?

Have you tried turning it off and back on again? Are you running the latest IOS?
  #10  
Old 06-20-2018, 02:27 PM
Disheavel Disheavel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,411
We had an issue with two of our 5 apple trees a couple of springs ago in the Pacific NW. Where we had a warm February and everything started to get ready to blossom and then march- may were cold and those two trees never bloomed- the flower buds just disappeared (probable dried up and fell off). 1 of the other trees only bore 1 apple and the others were quite sparse as well. So it could literally be the weather conditions and temperature timing as Bayaker alluded to.
  #11  
Old 06-21-2018, 04:46 AM
Orville mogul Orville mogul is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Villa Bennius
Posts: 620
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC View Post
If I ever plant another apple tree I will try to buy it directly from a local apple orchard if I can find one. I have zero luck with apples in So Cal.
Good point. I have never added fertilizer, but it has only been in the pot for two years, so I would be surprised if it exhausted any nutrients. But it is worth adding from food in any case.
  #12  
Old 06-21-2018, 04:49 AM
Orville mogul Orville mogul is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Villa Bennius
Posts: 620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disheavel View Post
We had an issue with two of our 5 apple trees a couple of springs ago in the Pacific NW. Where we had a warm February and everything started to get ready to blossom and then march- may were cold and those two trees never bloomed- the flower buds just disappeared (probable dried up and fell off). 1 of the other trees only bore 1 apple and the others were quite sparse as well. So it could literally be the weather conditions and temperature timing as Bayaker alluded to.
We had a pretty normal winter as far as I can remember, but spring started out as unusually warm and then turned cold and grey. So that might have played a role.

Bayaker, we are in western Switzerland where there are lots of orchards, and the variety that we bought (from a nursery) is Gala, a very common variety around here.
  #13  
Old 06-21-2018, 07:17 PM
PoppaSan's Avatar
PoppaSan PoppaSan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Up nort'
Posts: 2,034
Any type of cold that may have froze the buds off? Your tree getting root bound or too large for the pot?
I stumbled on this theory a decade ago. Apple blossoms are set during mid-summer the previous year at a point where there are no existing apples. That is why they can become bi-annual. Thinning will give space for blossoms to set in the area where the fruit is removed. I had alternating trees until a tornado came through and blew all the apples off which then put all my trees on the same rotation.
  #14  
Old 06-22-2018, 03:43 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 14,422
Many apple trees only produce if they are pollinated by a different apple tree. (Even a decorative crab apple tree will work.) Are there other apple trees nearby (upwind) that can disperse pollen to your tree?

Also, growing up, our orchard was heavily bi-annual -- most trees only produced in quantity every other year. And new trees planted to vil vacant spots seemed to sync themself with the existing trees, after a few years.
  #15  
Old 06-23-2018, 06:59 PM
Jeff Lichtman's Avatar
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is offline
Head Cheese
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: El Cerrito, CA
Posts: 4,160
The problem isn't pollination. The OP said the tree didn't flower this year. Pollination only becomes an issue once the tree has flowered, which it hasn't.

The first thing I thought of was winter weather. Most fruit trees require a minimum number of chill hours in order to flower. If you had a warm winter, it's possible the tree wasn't "convinced" that winter came and went. This seems more likely than a cool spring to be the problem.

Is your tree one that does well in containers? That is, is it on a dwarf rootstock? If not, it may be outgrowing its pot.

Do you know of other apple trees in your area? Did they flower? That could give you a clue as to whether the problem is the local weather, or it's just your tree.
__________________
'Tis a pity that I have no gravy to put upon Uncle Hymie.
  #16  
Old 06-24-2018, 09:27 PM
Isilder Isilder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orville mogul View Post
Good point. I have never added fertilizer, but it has only been in the pot for two years, so I would be surprised if it exhausted any nutrients. But it is worth adding from food in any case.

What ??? its a full sized apple tree. It was sold in a pot .. just for SALE purposes. Being a tree which produces a truck load of flowers and fruit, they grow quick.

Total up the weight of all the apples it produced. Now consider how much nutrient in that ? You didnt return that nutrient to the soil ...

Besides, there's one more aspect of the soil.. is it a healthy rock soil to control the pH and release nutrients slowly ? (otherwise they might all be consumed in the first few months and leave it short of rock again at flowering time.). If the soil has turned to sand, then its used up all the rock, and the rock is not there any longer to neutralise acids.. it becomes too acidic. The pot contains a few tiny balls of lime to keep pH neutral for a short time after sale..


"Apple trees prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 5.8 and 7.0). Extreme soil pH values result in nutrient tie-up or toxicity and poor tree and fruit development. It is important to amend the pH in acidic soils by incorporating limestone."

Last edited by Isilder; 06-24-2018 at 09:29 PM.
  #17  
Old 06-24-2018, 10:57 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,117
HoneyBadger, I don't think you can grow apples in SoCal unless, maybe, you had a patch of land up in the San Gabriels.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:30 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017