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Constant Bramley failure!

I have appalling luck trying to grow Bramleys. This year (the tree is 3 years old) the leaves are curled and the 'apples' pitifully small, like marbles. The tree is well watered and I try to keep it nourished with compost. Where am I going wrong? There have also been small black insects under the leaves, despite spraying.Image preview


  • The image doesn't show, Cheryl felix. Have you got other apples in your garden that do better?
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    edited August 2019
    Have you got 2 other apple trees which flower at the same time as the bramley? Bramleys are known as triploid which means that they need to be fertilised by 2 other trees in order to get fruit. Usually apples are put into groups so that you can buy 2 others belonging to the same group as the bramley, but in essence, you just need them to flower simultaneously. 
  • Thanks both. Yes, there’s a golden delicious and an Annie. They seem healthy, although few fruits and very small again. 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,761
    The small black insects are the likely cause, I have the same issue with one of my cider trees this year. However a 3 year old Bramley is still just a baby so personally I wouldn't have let it carry more than a couple of apples this year anyway.

    As mentioned you need another two different but compatible apple trees nearby to get any fruit. 
  • Maybe I’m too impatient! I’ll prune it well in the autumn n see what next year brings 😞
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 85,976
    Bramley Apple trees are partial tip beaters do you prune them differently to other apple trees. I’m no expert so I hope someone else can explain ... but I really wouldn’t have thought that a three year old tree needs much pruning. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Like Dove said, it's probably a mistake to prune the Bramley as it flowers and fruits on previous' years growth. 3 years is fairly young. Did you plant the other two at the same time or are they older? They are in the ground I assume, not in a pot. Maybe you bought a very dwarfing rootstock and the soil is wet and heavy plus shade, that could be a difficult combination for an apple. But maybe it just needs some time to establish.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,890
    I'm fairly sure I remember Constant Bramley Failure playing a session on the John Peel show back in the day. Triploid Pollination was their biggest hit.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Dunno, I’m very much an amateur and have never pruned a tree! It’s a year younger than the other two apple trees in the garden, plus neighbours have apple trees, but the fruits on all 3 of mine are few and tiny. Maybe the black bugs are to blame. 
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    I haven't been able to see a photograph.  Perhaps if we saw the tree we could offer more help. Bramleys are lovely apples but can be a bit awkward to get going. I wouldn't prune yet if they are really young. When you say that it is 3 years old, do you mean that you have had it for 3 years? They can be alternate year fritters too. If you are getting flowers but the fruit isn't maturing it is probably a pollination problem. Unless the  trees are dripping with bugs I can't see that they are the problem. 
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