Should an apple tree have fruit every year?
I usually get apples from my apple tree every other year. Is that the natural cycle of the tree or if I fertilize heavier can I get apples every year?
Washington County Minnesota
The short answer is Yes...it is normal for most apples to bear every other year. (There are two varieties that seem to bear every year - Goodland and Hazen.) Some varieties will bear a small crop on alternate years, and some won't have a single apple but environmental factors can affect even this normal cycle. For instance, 2012 was a "bad" year for most all of our apple trees in the upper Midwest. We had a late, killing frost in the spring that hit the blossoming trees and destroyed the fertilized apples. This was a challenging year too. After a rather bad drought last summer and fall, our spring was cold, wet and prolonged. The pollinating insects were unable to fly and many apple blossoms went unfertilized - thus no apples.
If your tree seems otherwise healthy: it grows new branches each year with full, green foliage, it flowers reliably etc., it should not receive additional fertilizer. Mature trees rarely need fertilizer and if this tree is in a yard or garden that gets fertilized, that is very sufficient for the tree.
I hope this answers your concerns. Thanks for contacting AaE, please do so again if you have additional questions.