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Dwarf Elstar apple tree

I live in the centre of a small town in Warwickshire.  For about 15 years I’ve had an Elstar dwarf apple tree which has always fruited well - best year was 2020 when I had 180 apples!  However, last year although covered with beautiful blossom in April, it didn’t produce a single apple!  
I don’t know if there is compatible pollination partner growing somewhere nearby.  If not, could this be the cause and can I buy pollen and pollinate by hand?
Ideas please?


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,135
    I don't know your particular apple variety, but there's list here of pollination partners.
    By the look of it almost any nearby apple will be suitable.

    But it may be that your apple is having a rest after such a productive year.
    This is known as biennial fruiting whcih is explained here and is the most likely reason -

    I don't think hand-pollination is a viable option, but hope your apple returns to its full productive glory this year :)

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,729
    A late overnight frost maybe?

    Our apple trees flowered well last year but I could easily count the number of apples that they produced after a late sneaky frost.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,969
    edited February 2022
    There were some very late frosts last year which really cut back the fruit on a lot of trees. 

    If it is a pollination problem it may be helpful to know that ornamental crab apples will act as pollination partners for most apple varieties.

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

  • I have a tree with two varieties on it Golden Delicious and Elstar.  It is a young tree only 6 years old trained into two espalier shapes. 
    I agree it might have been affected by frost ( my plum had no fruit after having plenty of flowers) or be having a rest year @angelawendy21 .
    This year was the first good crop for me, but I think with you being further south, your blossom would have been out at the same time as my plum, so we're frost damaged. Hopefully this year it will blossom and the frost will stay away.
    And just to finish I did hand pollinate my apples, as after the cold there were few pollinators around, not sure if it helped or not .
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,991
    I have the same tree, Golden Delicious/Elstar. We've never had many apples on the Golden Delicious half and last year the Elstar was very disappointing, again, very few apples and didn't taste at all good. Previous years gave a very good crop.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • I think the Elstar is a better cooking apple, it keeps its shape and doesn't turn to mush when put in a pie/crumble when frozen. As an eating apple its texture is wrong for me. I had more Elstar and the Golden Delicious were fewer in number. I thought it might have been my pruning it wrong, but sorted that out last year, so put down the better harvest to that, but it might just have been it was now mature enough to fruit.
  • Many thanks to everyone for replying.  I think I will wait until after this season to see what happens and just hope my tree was only having a rest last year!
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