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We never get any apples

Hello, we have 5 apple trees that were about 5 years old when we moved here 13 years ago. I don’t know the varieties. Every year except for 2019, they have all dropped every single apple when they are tiny. In 2019, we finally got a moderate crop of apples, and  they were lovely. I thought a corner had been turned, but we are back to zero apples again this year. We are in south west wales, it’s mild, but an exposed site, well drained land, usually an excess of rain. They are growing in grass. We do have tall mixed wild hedges acting as a windbreak around the area but not close to the apples. I had thought that the wind was the problem and that our garden is just not suited to apples, but what about 2019? Also, in our previous home, we had two cankered, ancient, neglected apple trees that always produced masses of lovely apples every year. What makes them discard every apple?


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,231
    Some apple trees develop an annoying habit of biennial bearing. So you were lucky in ‘19 and you might be again in ‘21.

    Maybe they weren’t pollinated properly. Too cold or wet or windy for bees at the vital moment? Or maybe they got frosted? Or maybe there were too many apples set and the trees aborted them to save energy.

    So many things can go wrong. If it’s any consolation, I had barely any apples, pears, plums or currants this year.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 BristolPosts: 1,505

    This society is in our allotment site here in Bristol.

    Never used them but it could be a starting poing as well as the pro help you will get on GW.

    Good luck.
    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,288
    edited 19 October
    This might be helpful :

    Home gardeners with apple trees expect to enjoy crisp, juicy, home-grown fruit every fall, but sometimes trees fall into bad habits and bear disappointing crops alternate years. Biennial bearing is sometimes a result of poor growing conditions, such as drought or low nutrients, and sometimes due to the tree exhausting itself by bearing too much fruit. When this happens, it takes trees two years to build up enough reserves to fruit again. Some varieties, such as Braeburn, are more prone to biennial bearing than others, but all apple trees need annual thinning of their fruit to avoid the danger of them falling into this habit.

    Are they all the same variety? I wonder if you have inherited  all biennial cropping variety. 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 1,391
    Is there any sign of blossom wilt? I have had a few years where there was no crop after being laden with blossom. I noticed that some of the fruit shoots were dying off. It is caused by the same infection as brown rot and treatment is similar - remove affected shoots and clean up and burn all leaves.
  • Do you winter prune your trees at all, and do you feed/fertilize them? My apple trees are in a very windy location, with wind coming straight off open fields, but it doesn't affect the crop (although I get a bit nervous in spring when the blossom falls off!).

    Try starting a good winter pruning regimen this year. There's a lot of information on the RHS site on how to do this properly, but in simple terms you should thin out dead, diseased or crossing wood first. Then work round the tree, thinning it out so that plenty of light and air gets through the tree. I think there's an old rule of thumb that the branches should be thinned to allow a pigeon to fly through at any angle, although my pigeons are the approximate size of a Boeing 747... I'm assuming you don't have a shaped or trained tree, pruning will of course be different.

    Also have a read of this:

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