Should an apple tree have fruit every year?

Asked September 25, 2013, 4:38 PM EDT

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

1 Response

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.