• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

Is there a mineral defiency that would cause my apple trees to not bloom?  RSS feed

 
master steward
Posts: 4861
Location: Pacific Northwest
1338
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids cooking wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unless I'm mistaken, all but one of my apple trees have no buds this year. One of them--the Gravenstein--hasn't bloomed in three years, and it's my largest tree. What am I doing wrong? Am I pruning them wrong? Is there a mineral deficiency that would cause this? Here's some pictures of my trees.
DSCF0134.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0134.JPG]
Gravenstein that hasn't bloomed in three years
DSCF0135.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0135.JPG]
There's no buds here, right?
DSCF0130.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0130.JPG]
Gala bloomed lots last year and made like 20 apples
DSCF0131.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0131.JPG]
There's no buds on this Gala, right?
DSCF0133.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0133.JPG]
This Braeburn made lots of apples last year, too.
DSCF0132.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0132.JPG]
Do you see buds on this Braeburn?
DSCF0136.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0136.JPG]
This Jonagold made some apples last year, but the deer pruned it heavily
DSCF0137.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0137.JPG]
Theres' no buds on this Jonagold, is there?
DSCF0138.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCF0138.JPG]
The Honeycrip has tons of buds, and did last year, too.
 
Posts: 66
Location: Columbia Missouri
5
bike forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have several thoughts about this.  It could be a case of biennial bearing.  A tree that produces a heavy crop one year will sometimes fail to bear fruit the following year while it "rests".  The usual remedy is increased thinning of the fruit when there is a heavy fruit set.  Commercial orchardists that want to optimize their crop have some rules about leaf to fruit ratios.  I'm not so concerned about getting every last apple.  So, I have never researched this in depth.

As for minerals,  if a tree gets too much nitrogen sometimes it will grow leaves instead of fruit.  I do know that honeycrisps need lots and lots of calcium to produce a crop. Since the honeycrisps is the only one blooming I would not expect calcium to be short.  Potassium is the most important mineral for producing fruit.  It is also rather slow to become available in the soil.  So, the trees may have used up all they could get last year and are now going without.

If it was me I would get a soil test done.  Any land grant university will have a soil lab and extension offices around the state.  They can tell you based on the sample what minerals are present.  Then you wouldn't have to rely on my guesswork.  They will also make recommendations.
 
steward
Posts: 2723
Location: Maine (zone 5)
551
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If they are young trees they may take a couple of years off of fruiting as they grow.  Some of my trees haven't put more than a couple of apples on in the 5 years I've had them, while other in the same area have fruited to the point of nearly breaking.  My honey crisp fruits so heavily each year that I've had to do some serious work to keep it somewhat vertical.  For the most part all of my older trees (50 years+) generally fruit heavily one year and then lightly the next.

I'm no apple expert, but I'd say that your trees are taking this year to do some rooting and vegetative growing.  With luck, next year will have a bumper crop of fruits.  Adding in some compost around the tree and planting some orchard companions like chives, comfrey, tansy, burdock, clover and other ground covers around the drip line of the tree can help mine minerals and nutrients for your apple trees to work with.

One other thing that may or may not apply is the concern about apple borers.  If they exist in your area, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for them between May and October when they are feeding on your trees' innards.  They can really do a lot of damage in a short time and rob the tree of it's fruiting ability.  Thankfully either compressed air or a thin wire is all you need to kill them.

You're trees look great to me.   Nice work.
 
Posts: 944
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
31
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This happened to me as well Nicole.

I find myself wondering if it was that week of crazy june-like weather we had before a hailstorm.

Worth noting that Honeycrisp is typically a very late bloomer that probably dodged a storm on blossoms.
 
All of life is a constant education - Eleanor Roosevelt. Tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!