Menu Close
Avatar
Log In
Please consider registering
Guest
Forum Scope






Start typing a member's name above and it will auto-complete

Match



Forum Options



Min search length: 3 characters / Max search length: 84 characters

Register Lost password?
Avatar
PPP
7 Posts
(Offline)
1
October 5, 2019 - 5:52 pm

I have a couple of apple trees that have been around for quite awhile that are not flowering. I planted them about 6 years ago. I did not pay much attention at the time but I think they were flowering when I planted them. They were about 5 feet tall when planted. One of the two actually flowered and generated a single apple for me one year. The other has never flowered after planting. Both have been without flowers for several years at this point.

 

I read about scion rooting online and it seems plausible that this has occurred. I can no longer see the graft on either tree. The puzzling thing is that the trees are fairly old at this point. They have been in their current location 6 years but were at least a couple of years old when I planted them. They are both about 14 feet tall. I seems like they should be flowering at this point even without the influence of dwarfing rootstock.

 

I am wondering if they will ever flower and if there is something I can do to encourage this ?

Avatar
sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
(Offline)
2
October 5, 2019 - 7:55 pm

PPP said
I have a couple of apple trees that have been around for quite awhile that are not flowering. I planted them about 6 years ago./// They were about 5 feet tall when planted. /// They have been in their current location 6 years but were at least a couple of years old when I planted them. They are both about 14 feet tall. I seems like they should be flowering at this point even without the influence of dwarfing rootstock.

I wonder about the soil conditions where you are; hardpan? or high clay? Your other post indicates you're carved out of woodland, so might be loamy or have high organic matter? Where's the water table? do you need to irrigate in the summer? Conversely is it possible that the soil is too wet for the roots? Do you know what rootstock they're on?

The trees being 5' in the pot at planting, were they root-bound? Sometimes a root-bound tree will languish; and depending on soil conditions and size of the planting hole, may not send roots out into the surrounding area to get nourishment. ie; the planting hole has shovel-glazed sides, is fairly dense soil, and fertilizer added to the hole at planting time  w/o spreading out the roots = planting in a 'pot' in the soil, the roots are encouraged to stay where they are in that instance.

What's the sun exposure for these trees? Generally the more light getting into the tree structure will encourage the fruiting buds. Hows your pruning culture?

Do either of these trees exhibit vigorous growth habits; meaning abundant and long rain-sprouts from response growth  to over pruning and/or dormant season pruning or/and variety?  Are they situated near North of a three story canopy of the woodlands? Highly shaded areas of a vigorous apple tree always have less fruiting wood.

    I haven't quite made all the mistakes yet. Surprised

Just some things for consideration.   Maybe a start.

Avatar
PPP
7 Posts
(Offline)
3
October 6, 2019 - 5:32 am

Sweepbjames, the soil is fairly well drained and the site is sloped. I do not think there is much clay to speak of. The composition is tyical of north eastern forestland. Lots of organic material in the top 3-8 inches and mineral soil with very little organic material below this. I do not irrigate or fertilize. 

 

I have not seen any indication that the trees are too dry or too wet. I have some other trees adjacent that are flowering. The flowering trees are all dwarf. I do not know what the original root stock for the problem trees was.

 

Exposure is good. Full sun almost all day. There is some shade at sunrise and sunset but they are getting st least 8 hours of full direct sun- probably more.

 

The growth habit is vigorous. I have not pruned these trees (ever). All the growth is vertical- whiplike shoots that go up and not out.

 

I guess it is possible that the trees are rootbound. If this is the case, what would I do about it at this point ? Do I need to tear them out ?

Avatar
sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
(Offline)
4
October 6, 2019 - 10:49 am

Two things further come to mind.

The apple variety may be too early; when the buds want to push and are tender- they get a freeze and die. 

Although young, the unmanaged trees will benefit from training and judicious/restoration pruning. Hormones for fruit production are thought to move with sap flow through lateral branches that are at an angle between about 35-60˚ above horizontal. Aim for 60˚.

That all said, I guess you could carefully dig a bit toward the suspected root constriction area to prove or disprove the theory. If you're satisfied that root bound is not the case, you might consider top-work. Grafting to a latter blooming variety. Thus making use of your already established root system.

When you planted them, do you recall opening up and spreading out the roots, or just popping the root ball in the hole direct from the pot? Might save you from the need/want to excavate.

Over pruning, the common wisdom says more than around 30% of your wood, will cause an overly vigorous response. Dormant season pruning will always encourage vegetative growth. We are trying to encourage more summer pruning techniques as a way to encourage fruit and discourage vegetative vigor. It is too late this year for pruning to have the desired  effect of diminishing the spring time vegetative push, and would stimulate a push now that won't have time to harden off before cold weather.

Restoration pruning is thought to be a three year process, generally.

If you've determined the existing variety is wrong for the place, don't spend much if any time on pruning as you are going to graft scion wood to fresh limb stubs near the trunk.

Avatar
Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
(Offline)
5
October 6, 2019 - 12:16 pm

PPP said
I guess it is possible that the trees are rootbound. If this is the case, what would I do about it at this point ? Do I need to tear them out ?  

It is certainly a realm of possibility that nutritional elements needed for initiation of flowers is lacking, henseforth I agree with the need to inspect the root. Conversly, it is also possible that the roots are reaching out but still it becomes necessary for the root to find any trace elements, which may in your case be deficient in your area. 

The easiest cheapest way to diagnose a deficiency (when compared to sampling leaves in a lab) would be to foliar spray the leaves now with maxicrop or microcrop seaweed because they contain kelp extract that contain 60 elements (plants are only known to need ~20 of them). It may or may not be a fast "litmus test" since flower buds are borne in the tree the summer before flowering but I hope you get the idea that you would not be the first to discover flowering issues. (eg. past discussion)

In the next day or so I will send you the email address of that Charlie in the link so that you can write him directly, who was before he retired, experienced with this kind of flowering issue with pear in the centrally-eastern States. He was a professional concerning soils and grains.

Avatar
PPP
7 Posts
(Offline)
6
October 10, 2019 - 7:18 pm

Thanks sweepbjames & Rooney.

 

-PPP

Avatar
Viron
1400 Posts
(Offline)
7
October 13, 2019 - 1:46 pm

This jumped out at me: “The growth habit is vigorous. I have not pruned these trees (ever). All the growth is vertical- whiplike shoots that go up and not out.”  

The trees are likely sending their energy up, as though they were competing within a forest.  That’s their nature. Pruning, or bending over shoots into limbs interrupts the upward hormone flow.  The tree feels as though it’s been damaged, and had better begin reproducing (making seed via fruit).

I suggest both pruning and training.  Are the varieties ‘tip bearers’ or spur bearers?  Tip bearing trees generally fruit on the previous years growth; if that growth was basically vertical, lateral fruit-bud suppressing hormones will remain dominant.  No flowering, just more up!

Tip bearers require a different pruning strategy, too.  Thinning cuts, removing growth to it’s parent branch, leave no fruit buds.  Their branches need to be shortened, leaving several buds near the base to flower.   

If you know the varieties (or cultivars), there are lists of tip bearing apple trees.  Either tip or spur bearing, pruning should trigger fruit production. If they’re not tip-bearers, but spur producing varieties, some may take up to seven years before their spurs finally produce.  Attempt to determine if you’ve got any spurs on either tree; they’re the fat, twisted, stubby protrusions often nearer the base of a branch. ...like where your other apple tree’s apples are forming.

Yah, bend over those limb shoots; open up the center for some sun, shorten lanky growth tips … and give them another season to get the message - you mean business Smile

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
All RSSShow Stats
Administrators:
Idyllwild
Moderators:
John S
Marsha H
Viron
jafar
portlandian
Top Posters:
Rooney: 684
DanielW: 519
PlumFun: 495
Reinettes: 375
davem: 312
Dubyadee: 222
gkowen: 218
sweepbjames: 212
Larry_G: 151
quokka: 148
Newest Members:
lelandzeller37
jaredgooseberry
kelleelamond96
ermabarrenger0
eloise3572
odettecardin147
jedodowd18
woodrowkleiman
terriheathershaw
allenmartens8
Forum Stats:
Groups: 1
Forums: 4
Topics: 2811
Posts: 15714

 

Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 0
Members: 7099
Moderators: 5
Admins: 1
Most Users Ever Online: 232
Currently Online: fredrick01o
Guest(s) 13
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)