We have 5 apple trees which produced apples last year but have none on them...

Asked June 26, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT

We have 5 apple trees which produced apples last year but have none on them this year.

Mille Lacs County Minnesota

1 Response

Many Minnesota trees and shrubs have failed to develop normally this spring. This is mostly due to severe drought that affected many parts of the state followed by colder than usual winter conditions.

If the trees bloomed, but did not produce fruit, pollination failure is the probable cause. If the tree produced no blossoms, winter injury and spring freezes might be the reason, however, other factors can account for this:

1. Too much shade
2. Over pruning which stimulates leaf growth at the expense of flowers and fruit
3. Too much fertilizer can have the same effect as #2.
4. Trees are too young. It often takes several years for newly planted apple trees to begin bearing reliably. Even trees that bore fruit before planting often fail to bear for several years due to transplant shock and time needed to develop root systems and otherwise adjust to the planting site.
5. Trees may be biennial bearers. Some apple varieties are prone to bear heavily one year and little or nothing the following year. It's often necessary to thin the fruit to interrupt this cycle.