Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apple tree problem

Q: Here's my problem. I've had 3 apple trees in my yard for many years. They were already here when I bought the house so I don't know what type they are but they the last few years have dropped the fruit while it's still small. They never did that before. Is it because they are getting older?

A: Age is probably not an issue here as apples can keep producing for many years even for half a century. Your apple trees are what's called aborting their fruit. Dropping it before it's matured. There are a few possible causes. If the trees haven't been fertilized much (or at all) they could be suffering from a mineral deficiency. That is common for fruit trees of all types and a telltale sign is aborted fruit. Determining which of the many minerals they are short of is next to impossible so the recommendation is to apply a fruit tree food that contains some of  each of the many of the minerals like zinc, manganese, boron, copper, calcium and sulphur. Applying every year is good practice at the very least.  Another possible cause is insufficient pollination. That is becoming more and more common as honeybee populations dwindle. Fortunately you can purchase your very own orchard bees to combat that problem. They are called Mason orchard bees and can only be purchased in early spring each year from garden centres.

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