My tree is not making fruit

My tree is not making fruit

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We have a Meyer lemon tree and a key lime tree. We bought them at a nursery about 2 years ago. They are about 3 feet tall. The first year they flowered.

  • All your Fruit Questions Answered
  • Why Plants Fail to Flower or Fruit
  • Why is my nectarine tree not producing fruit?
  • Fruit tree pollination
  • Why Isn't My Apple Tree Producing Fruit?
  • Keep Fruit Trees Small
  • The Art of Pruning Fruit Trees
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Why Doesn't My New Apple Tree have Fruit?

All your Fruit Questions Answered

Have a fruit tree that won't bloom or bear fruit? Discover common issues and how to solve them, plus basic tree requirements for fruit production. You've planted your fruit tree. It's growing. It's living. But it's not blooming or bearing fruit.

While this can be discouraging to the point of wanting to chop the tree down, go for the facts — not the axe. If your fruit tree doesn't bloom or bear, it can happen for a number of reasons. In this article, we focus on the 6 basic requirements of fruit trees and address the most common issues and solutions related to fruit production.

When you receive your tree from Stark Bro's, it will be around 2 years old and will still need a few years before reaching its fruiting maturity.

Read our article about how many years until you should expect fruit for more information about how long it takes for different trees to bear before deciding your tree has an issue.

Pollination Fruit trees require pollination to be able to set fruit. If your tree is not self-pollinating, it needs a compatible pollinator tree planted nearby.

Also, pollination-helping beneficials like bees, birds, and wind need to be adequately present. If your tree is missing these important elements, it may bloom, but it will not likely set fruit. Read more about the importance of fruit tree pollination. Hardiness Zones Individual tree varieties have recommended hardiness zones for planting.

Once you know what your zone is, you will be able to select fruit trees that are recommended to grow in your area. Pruning Regularly pruned trees are much more apt to producing quality fruit.

Fruiting buds tend to form on limbs that have adequate air circulation and light infiltration, which is your goal when pruning. Learn about pruning tips and more in our article, Successful Tree Pruning. You also have to make sure that you find the right balance for pruning. Heavy over-pruning can cause a tree to produce too much vegetative growth in response, and under-pruning can contribute to the development of too much fruiting wood, which is the culprit for overbearing and fruit drop.

Spacing Fruit trees that are planted too close to one another will compete for nutrients and light. If planting trees close together is part of your design espalier and high-density plantings are two prime examples , then you will need to prune accordingly to keep them open to light and ensure the trees are getting enough nutrients from the soil.

If trees are planted too close to buildings and other structures, they will have similar conflicts with the added risk of interfering with those structures. Make sure you give your trees enough room to grow and flourish. For an easy-to-follow reference for tree-spacing, learn more about the different fruit tree sizes here. Soil Conditions 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. 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.

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. There are some extreme solutions that should only be attempted if all else fails : root-pruning or scoring your trees.

Root pruning: Bring a spade or shovel out to the drip line of your trees. The drip line is where the tips of the branches are, but straight down on the ground.

Take the spade or shovel and push it straight into the ground and pull it straight back out. Do not dig out any dirt. Move over a foot or two and repeat the process. You are essentially creating a dotted-line circle around your tree's root system, which will clip the feeder roots and "shock" the tree into blooming during the next growing season.

Scoring: This has the same result as root pruning, but scoring should not be your first step to getting your tree to fruit. Consider it a last resort. When scoring your trees, bring a small knife like a pocket-knife out to your tree.

Locate a spot low on the trunk and cut a single horizontal line into the bark, only halfway around the tree. Move up several inches and repeat this, but halfway around the other direction. Do not let these lines connect to one another or you will destroy the phloem tissue and completely disrupt the vascular system of the tree, which will lead to its demise. See the animated image as a reference for examples of properly scoring the bark halfway around a tree.

If you keep these instances in mind, then you will have a better understanding of why a fruit tree does not bear. Nip a potential problem in the bud and exercise your patience not your lumberjack-swing. Your trees will thank you! Two commonly frustrating questions any grower might ask: "Why won't my fruit tree bloom? Things to Consider When Planting in Your Zone: Trees should be hardy to your zone for a chance to survive winters and summers. Trees should receive adequate chill hours to produce fruit.

If the tree is hardy to your zone but does not meet its chill-hour requirement, its fruit production will decrease. As a general rule, most peaches have a low chill-hour requirement, most apples are in the middle, and most pears have a high chill-hour requirement.

Weather can greatly affect fruit production. The Meyer Lemon and Key Lime trees are our staff's favorite gifts to give. Because they can be grown anywhere! You asked, and we delivered. Our Supreme XL Potted fruit trees are our biggest and most robust potted trees ever.

Grown in 9x12 pots, these larger and more mature trees feature a more established root system- which means you get fruit faster! Chill Hours for Fruit and Nut Trees There are two important factors in determining if a particular tree or plant will grow well in your part of the country.

First, you must live within the recommended USDA Hardiness Zone and if you are planting a fruit or nut tree, you must determine if your area receives enough annual Chill Hours. Take precautions and treat your trees to further prevent the spread before your harvest suffers! It has to do with genetics. The male and female genetics combine to make something new, just like humans.

By planting the seed, you won't grow an exact replica - and that's exactly why we bud and graft. We are, essentially, "cloning" the parent tree. Simply put, it's landscaping with food. It makes sense, doesn't it? Adding plants and trees in your landscape that beautify your property AND produce food. Easily identified by their small size and large grouping, aphids can come in many different colors.

Edible Landscaping — Growing Elderberry Plants Elderberry plants are native to the US and are becoming increasingly popular as an addition to edible landscapes and homesteads. They are great for juicing, making syrup and tea, and make a wonderful jam. What is a Honeyberry? Haskap Berry Grow and Maintain a Customer Favorite for your Edible Landscape Honeyberries are a sweet, tangy fruit that can be likened to a blueberry in taste.

High in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals Planting Seed Potatoes in 7 Simple Steps — With Video Katie shows you how to easily plant seed potatoes in her home garden at the Howard Homestead in seven simple steps.

Why Plants Fail to Flower or Fruit

Make a donation. As long as fruit trees are producing a reasonable harvest of tasty fruit, they earn their place in the garden. If crops diminish, stop, are produced biennially, or are composed of many small fruits of poor quality, one or more elements within the cultivation regime or climate may be to blame.There are many possible causes of poor crops of fruit, from environmental conditions and pests or disease to more controllable causes, including overpruning or underfeeding. If no buds are present after winter , birds such as bullfinches may be to blame. As winter food becomes scarce, birds will eat buds of cherries, plums and pears. Apples Grow Your Own fruit.

Grow your own backyard orchard with the best fruit trees – from Grown in a sunny spot, they are also easy to grow and not prone to many.

Why is my nectarine tree not producing fruit?

Apricots, cherries, peaches and plums are called stone fruits because they have large pits or stones at their centers. Stone fruit trees are easy to grow, provided you accept a few limitations in northern climates. In Minnesota, it is important to select varieties that are hardy to zone 4 or zone 3. Most stone fruit varieties are very much at home in zone 5 and higher, but there are a growing number that are proving to be hardy in colder climates. The trickiest part about growing stone fruits is the fact that they bloom early in the spring. Spring is notorious for temperature fluctuation. A few warm days might be followed by a cold night with frost, which is the biggest enemy of stone fruits.

Fruit tree pollination

Some fruit trees and shrubs cannot pollinate themselves, or if they can, then it's not highly effective. Use these charts as a guide to find the perfect pollinators for apples, pears, cherries, plums and blueberries to ensure a large harvest of fruits. Is your mouth watering yet? If not, it will be when the delightful aroma of apple and cinnamon is wafting from your oven! Some flowers are more than just a pretty face, they can be eaten too!

Many gardeners are interested in fruit trees, but are often unaware of which species will do well in Illinois and also the amount of work involved in growing tree fruit. Be sure to do your homework in planning a tree fruit planting, as not all tree fruits will do well in Illinois.

Why Isn't My Apple Tree Producing Fruit?

When I first planted fruit trees, I knew I needed to mulch them. After all, when you visit any well-tended garden, you will see a pretty circle of mulch — usually wood chips or cedar mulch — carefully spread out around the base of the trees. But what exactly is tree mulch? Mulch is a name used for any material that we use to cover bare soil. People mulch their trees with organic materials like wood chips or compost, or with inorganic materials like gravel, plastic sheets or landscape fabric.

Keep Fruit Trees Small

Some types of fruit trees produce a crop sooner than others, with dwarf varieties the quickest. This is to allow the tree to establish a strong root system and framework of branches, rather than putting a lot of energy into fruit development. Unfortunately sometimes fruit trees may fail to produce a crop. More often than not, the problem is due to a lack of pollination. Other causes of poor cropping can be reasons like the tree being too young to produce fruit, not growing healthily due to pests, disease, poor nutrition, lack of watering, or growing with too much vegetative growth from excessive nitrogen.

If your young tree isn't producing, it may simply need more time, because many fruit tree varieties do not begin to bear until they're several years old.

The Art of Pruning Fruit Trees

Many fruit trees — including semidwarf varieties — can easily grow to 15 feet and taller. Anyone who has tried to manage one of these large trees in a backyard will instantly appreciate the value of small fruit trees: They require less space, are easy to care for, and produce fruit in manageable quantities. Growing compact trees allows you to tuck more varieties of fruit into corners of your property or a small orchard, and means you can choose those varieties by flavor and climate adaptability rather than by tree size. Nearly any standard and semidwarf tree — from pears, peaches and plums to apples and apricots — can be trained to stay much more compact.


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Pruning and training are two of the most important cultural practices for managing fruit trees and begins at planting.

Fruit trees will grow very similarly to other ornamental plants. However, when it comes to actually bearing fruit, fruit and nut trees and fruiting shrubs will require more time, attention, and specific care regimens to perform well, in order for them to produce to our gardening expectations. The first basic truth to know is that all fruit trees must grow to a specific maturity before they are even able to bear fruit.Different varieties reach their fruiting age at different times and the type of rootstocks trees are grafted onto have a direct and logical correlation for how old a tree needs to be to bear fruit. There should be no mistake, planting fruit-bearing trees or shrubs is a long-term investment, not a speedy return on your time and effort investment. Trees on semi-dwarf rootstock will typically produce in about 4 to 5 years from planting and dwarf trees will bear in about 2 to 3 years from planting. This critical piece of information should be balanced with how patient a gardener you are.

Jump to navigation. There are a number of reasons why a deciduous fruit tree may not produce fruit. The ones that we have identified as possibly pertinent to your situation are as follows: It could be incomplete pollination if the flowers are not falling off. If the flowers are shriveling and dying on the tree then there is a pollination problem.