Honeycrisp bears no apples

Asked October 29, 2017, 12:33 PM EDT

I have a honey crisp tree that bears no apples, it has blossoms in the spring but only 1-3 form fruit and most turn bad, I got one apple this year. I have sprayed with Neem in the past to no affect and this year I tried Malathion about 1/month I have attached a picture. There is a Winesap nearby with good leaves and fruit and sprayed the same.

Chisago County Minnesota home apple production apple trees horticulture

5 Responses

No photo was attached.

I'm not sure I read your message correctly. You said your tree blossoms but only one in three blossoms produces fruit? Correct me if this is wrong.

Apple trees "self-thin". They will drop (or not produce) apples on blossoms if they have too heavy a load. A single cluster may produce 6 or more apples. Sometimes the tree will drop all or some of these apples. We recommend thinning each cluster to a single apple for larger and better quality apples.

As for why the apples are of poor quality, my guess is you have apple maggots, the most common apple pest. Neem is not appropriate for apple maggot. Insecticides for apple maggot must be applied every week to 10 days, or after rainfall, from July 1 to harvest.

Read here about apple maggots and about growing apples in Minnesota:


Thank you for your reply. The tree has no more than 20 blossoms in spring, of which 1-3 grow into small fruit and I have only 1 that grew (this year, which was 7 after I bought/planted the tree). I have tried to attach the picture again and you can see the one apple. It tasted fine, just quite small.

For apple maggot do you spray with Malathion starting in July, but nothing before that?

Thanks Again,

Gary B

Thanks for the clarification. There are a number of reasons an apple tree will not blossom. The two most likely in your situation are that the tree is too young or that there is not enough sunlight.

As for the tree's age, 7 years is too young for a full sized tree to reliably bloom. A dwarf or semidwarf should be producing, but if the graft onto the rootstock was buried when planting, a dwarf tree will behave like a full sized tree. I can't tell about the sunlight from your photo, but it looks like the tree is an understory tree, which could be a problem. Read here about why apple trees don't blossom:

Apple maggots seem to be appearing earlier - mid June - in recent years, so I'd recommend beginning management about then. Apple maggot adults lay their eggs in the immature apples around that time. We advise to monitor for the adults to determine when to start spraying. It is usually when the apples are about the size of a quarter. If you don't want to spray but do wish to harvest clean apples, we recommend bagging the apples with plastic sandwich bags. Information about all of this is in the link I sent you in my original post.

Thanks Dennis, good info. I hadn't noticed the shading issue before but you are correct the tree is overshadowed most of the day. Do you think it can be moved? Or, is it too old and we should start over?

I would not move the tree. An alternative to starting over is to prune some of the trees around to let more light in. If you do this, have a reputable tree company do the pruning. Here is a link to find certified arborists: