There is nothing more frustrating than planting and nurturing young fruit trees in hopes of a bountiful harvest just to end up with bare fruit trees come harvest time or a tree which just refuses to grow in any way. If your young tree isn’t producing, it might only need more time, because many fruit tree varieties do not start to bear till they’re several years old. If your tree is mature enough to bear but isn’t, or if your new tree isn’t booming and growing, there may be other problems you have to address. Diseases and pest damage are the most apparent, but you will likely see signs of those problems and be in a position to fix them easily. Other issues might be less obvious, but there are things you can do in order to fix and remove potential problems so you can enjoy a crop.
Eliminate the Contest
Young fruit trees do best when they do not need to fight grass, weeds and other plants for water and nutrients. Clear the region underneath the tree, from trunk to drip line, of nuisance plants and apply a layer of mulch to help prevent them from coming back. Always leave a few inches between the flux and the trunk of the tree rather than forcing the mulch up against the tree bark. Remove any suckers that grow up from the young tree’s roots also, because producing and growing these limbs drains the tree’s energy. Never use a motorized trimmer to eliminate weeds, grass or suckers from under the tree as this equipment can harm the tree bark and trunk.
Be a fantastic Supplier
Fruit trees require a lot of light, water and nutrients to thrive and produce good crops. Fruit trees love full sun, so remove anything shading your tree. If you can not eliminate what’s shading your tree, you might need to move the tree. Fruit trees do not always transplant well, so be prepared to replace the tree, if necessary. Trees also need enough water to grow and bear fruit. The roots of your tree should remain moist but never soggy or left in standing water. Generally, fruit trees may require a deep watering twice a week during dry weather, but clay soil may require less frequent watering and sandy soil may require more. Make sure that your tree is receiving adequate nutrition by fertilizing every spring using 10-10-10 fertilizer, applying 1 pound of granular, slow-release fertilizer for every year of the tree’s age up to 5 or 6 pounds. If the tree still does not improve, consider executing a soil test to learn just what is lost and amend the soil accordingly.
Prune and Thin
As much art as science, pruning fruit trees will be critical to fruit growth. Most fruit trees are trained and pruned to a central leader system in which the tree contains one principal upright trunk where many side limbs grow and are shaped into the form of a pine tree, with wide limbs in the bottom and shorter ones on top. Apple (Malus domestica), cherry (Prunus spp.) , pear (Pyrus spp.) And pecan (Carya illinoensis) trees tend to be trained this way. Another frequent fruit tree contour is the open center, or vase shape, in which the tree is left with many side limbs branching from the trunk but the central leader is eliminated to allow more sunlight to penetrate the canopy. This design is commonly used for peaches (Prunus persica), nectarines (Prunus persica nectarina) and plums (Prunus domestica). Whichever shape you choose, start training the tree ancient and prune annually during winter dormancy to maximize fruit production. After the tree does start to produce fruit, get your pruning shears out and thin the harvest to make the most of the size and caliber of the rest of the fruit. Without thinning, the tree will generate a lot of little fruits which lack taste.
Plant a Pollinator
Several fruit trees, such as sweet cherries (Prunus avium), apples, pears, plums, and peaches require another tree to pollinate them. Without cross-pollination these varieties won’t produce fruit. Other trees, such as sour cherries (Prunus cerasus), are self-pollinators and do not require a different tree to produce fruit. Some varieties of apples, pears, peaches and other fruits can also be regarded as self-pollinating. These self-pollinating trees tend to produce more fruit when a pollinator is present and might fail to produce without one, so try boosting your tree’s creation by planting another, even if the garden center claims that you don’t have to. Remember that the pollination process depends on the assistance of mammals, therefore avoid using insecticides whenever possible. Plant flowers that attract bees to your house to increase the probability of pollination.