Apple trees

Asked September 27, 2020, 8:34 AM EDT

I have Honey Crisp trees, only one has blossomed and produced fruit. Other Honey Crisp within 10’ have not blossomed nor produced fruit. Why is this?

Dickinson County Michigan

10 Responses

Hello,

This article describes several issues that can cause an apple not to produce flowers.

https://polk.extension.wisc.edu/files/2014/02/Why-some-apple-trees-dont-flower.pdf

If you would like to attach a picture, that may show something we could point out.

Take a shot far enough back to show the whole tree, top to soil line. Also, a picture of the two trees standing side by side. Include your care and pruning schedule, when these are performed, what sprays or any fertilizers were used. Click “Choose File” button, one for each picture. Thank you.

Thank you Laura!
i don’t prune or fertilize my Apple trees.
i also have 3 larger Apple trees within 50-60’ of these Honey Crisp, two being a crab Apple.

Thank you Laura!
i don’t prune or fertilize my Apple trees.
i also have 3 larger Apple trees within 50-60’ of these Honey Crisp, two being a crab Apple.

Thank you Laura!
i don’t prune or fertilize my Apple trees.
i also have 3 larger Apple trees within 50-60’ of these Honey Crisp, two being a crab Apple.

Hello,
thank you for the pictures. If it is the smaller tree that doesn’t flower, that is a big clue. What is the exposure of the tree, and how much full sun does it get? Too little full sun can prevent flowering. If there is a way to give it more sun, such as pruning back a nearby tree that shades it, that may help.


Also, the branches are rather upright. This winter try weighting or using a spreader to angle the branches so they are at a 60 to 90 degree angle to the main trunk. See page 7 — https://www.uky.edu/hort/sites/www.uky.edu.hort/files/documents/appletraining.pdf
I hope this helps!




Laura the smaller tree on left produced apples, the tall one did not. Directly behind the trees is a wall that is the south side of trees, full sun from mid morning till sunset. The trunk of taller tree is double that of the smaller tree. Thank you again for the advice!

Thank you for that additional info. Both trees branches are rather upright, and the larger tree may be getting too much fertilizer, putting on leafy growth. Especially if they both started the same size.

Also, the larger tree may need some judicious pruning to allow air and light in to the branches.
I will ask our tree fruit educator to give his opinion.

Several possibilities you can check out:

Your Honeycrisp tree was built in the nursery by grafting a Honeycrisp bud (a scion bud) onto a rootstock. The bud was allowed to grow to be the top of the tree. Sometimes the scion bud dies (either in the nursery, or when planted in the backyard and the tree is entirely rootstock. Compare the leaves of the tall tree to those of the smaller tree to see if they look different. Send in closeup photo taken on tabletop if you want help. You may need to find a better camera for better photo clarity.


Second possibility is that the tall tree is really Honeycrisp but it has a genetic quirk for poor fruit production.

Third possibility is that the tree on the right was planted too low in the ground so that the graft union is in touch with the soil, allowing the scion to send down roots, bypassing the dwarfing effect of the rootstock. See pictures. The graft union is usually swollen. The picture shows the swollen graft union buried in the dirt, with roots growing from it. You will need to dig around the base of the non flowering tree to see if you can locate the graft union. Perhaps the smaller tree was planted too low as well but has not scion rooted yet.

Thank you William! Here are the best pics I’m capable of. I’m thinking that whatever is going on with this Honeycrisp is also the reason my (4) Wolf River, and a dozen other unknown type of Apple trees have. Thank you again so much for taking the time!
dave

It's hard to see the edges of the second leaf due to curling, but from what I can see, the leaf does not look like the typical rootstock.
So scion rooting is my best guess, but you will have to do the digging to see. I've attached another picture to illustrate the problem. The drawing on the left shows where the graft union should be relative to the ground. The one shows a root too deep in the soil with scion rooting and attempts to sever the unwanted roots. The severed roots will grow back if the graft union is covered up again with soil or mulch.