Apple trees not blooming

Asked June 28, 2019, 8:26 AM EDT

Hello, My dad has five Apple trees that are six years old and big but never bloom or produce fruit. I've been doing some reading and I think the problem may be over vigorous growth because they are planted along side the lateral lines from the septic system. Do you have any idea what can be done to help them produce fruit? We have a peach tree Androids the yard that is fruiting just fine. Thanks!

Bullitt County Kentucky

1 Response

It is very important that your trees have the right balance of reserve food and soil elements. This is the best thing you can do to ensure your tree fruits and has energy to support its fruit. As you can see in the graphic, if this balance is off, it can have a negative impact on how your tree blooms or bears.

Nutrient Balance and Imbalance in Fruit Trees

If a tree has plenty of reserve food but a shortage of soil elements, you may see a stunted crop of undersized, poor-quality fruit. You might even see no fruit at all. This can happen if your tree has tried to overbear, which may cause a tree to drop its fruit prematurely. It may also happen if your tree has experienced foliage-depletion, which can be caused by stress, weather, or other weakening factors (animals, pests, or disease). Identifying the stress factor and treating it will help to remedy the problem. You can have your soil tested to find nutrient deficiencies. You should implement routine control of pests and disease.

A tree can also have an excess of soil elements but not enough reserve food. The tree will appear to be healthy and lush during the growing season, but it will not bear fruit (regardless of maturity) since, in many cases, the tree doesn’t even bloom. This happens as a result of “over-feeding”. If the soil provides plenty of nutrients, like nitrogen (either naturally or by adding fertilizer), the tree develops an excess of vegetative growth that will delay the growth of fruiting buds. You can remedy this problem by holding off on fertilizing and waiting until the next growing season for results.

In your particular case this is challenging because of the lateral lines and your lack of control of how nutrients are being released in your soil. If that is indeed the problem the only long term solution I see would be to graft scion wood from the existing trees onto new rootstock and start over somewhere else. Plant somewhere away from the lateral lines. Probably not the solution you were looking for but the only practical way of solving this particular problem.