Apples or Bust

Asked September 20, 2017, 11:19 AM EDT

Hello, I have 2 golden delicious & 2 honey crisp apple trees that I planted as saplings about 12 to 15 yrs ago, finally in late winter of 2016 I did a descent pruning job and had a good harvest in the fall of 2016, so in late winter of 2017 I aggressively pruned them again and I didn't get any apples. What did I do wrong & what can I do to get quality apples? I will take quality or quantity any day, also what do you recommend for insects and apple tree problems. Thanks Pete

Washington County Minnesota home apple production apple diseases apple thinning

1 Response

Many apple varieties have biennial bearing tendencies. That means, left to their own devices, the trees bear a lot of fruit one year followed by little or none the next. Thinning the fruit is the best way to break this pattern.

However, if the trees bore plenty of flowers this spring, something else such as frost damage or poor pollination must account for the crop failure. It's unlikely that pruning made the difference.

Pest and disease control are essential to achieve reliable fruit quality and quantity in Minnesota. A host of pests and pathogens damage apple trees and their fruit but only a few are likely to affect trees in a particular orchard or back yard. The challenge is to identify those that are active at your location and follow a regular management plan to control them. Scab, plum curculios, and apple maggots are among the apple disease and pest problems most likely to need control here.

Information in the following bulletins cover the details in this regard.

Fruit thinning
http://blog-yard-garden-news.extension.umn.edu/2009/05/simple-steps-to-productive-apple-trees.html

Pests and Diseases
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/apple-pest-management/