How to Care for Your Apple Tree when it Doesn't Blossom How to Care for Your Apple Tree when it Doesn't Blossom
If you don't get any fruit when your apple tree blossoms, it can be due to several problems. Here are some ideas to trouble shoot what could be causing this with your tree.
Step 1 - Age of Tree
If you have recently planted your apple tree or transplanted it, this would most likely be the reason it isn't blooming. Even if you purchase a 'two year' tree from the nursery, it can still be 2 to 5 years before you get blossoms depending upon what type tree it is. Golden Delicious trees seem to take longer to bloom and bear fruit while Red Delicious and some of the old fashioned varieties are more prolific.
Step 2 - Soil
If you have recently transplanted or planted a new tree, the soil could be a problem. If you packed the soil in too heavily around the roots, they can't expand so the tree can grow and blossom. Try to gently loosen the soil with a rake but don't disturb the new roots. Add a bit of fertilizer to the soil and scratch it in around the root ball as you're planting it. Discuss with your local nursery the best type for your particular tree.
Step 3 - Pollination
Some apple trees are self polinating and others require other apple trees planted nearby for polination and blooms. Again, this is a matter you should discuss with your nursery where you purchased the tree. Two of the same variety of tree will polinate better than just 2 random apple trees. If you have a self polinating variety it could be a few years before the tree is robust enough to bloom well in the Spring. Also be sure to plant them the correct distance apart.
Step 4 - Light
Just planting a tree outdoors doesn't always mean it gets sufficient light to grow and blossom well. Fruit trees like a lot of sun, so if you've planted your tree in the shadow of another tree, this is your problem. Either prune the larger tree or dig your apple tree up and move it to a sunnier location.
Step 5 - Water
If the tree has been planted for 2 years or less, it will require an inch of water a week. This is equivalent to a garden hose running in a pencil size stream for 1 hour placed near the base of the tree. Only do this if you haven't had sufficient rain.
Step 6 - Pruning
If you have recently pruned the tree, it may take a couple of years to come back to its former glory in the Spring. On the other hand, if the tree has a lot of sucker shoots, those should be removed as they will draw the strength from the tree. Sucker shoots are the little tree limbs that grow out from the base and look like miniature trees forming. Remove those and seal the open wood to prevent disease and pests from killing the tree.
Step 7 - A Year Off
Some trees, for no apparent reason, will take a year off from blooming and go dormant. There is nothing wrong with the tree, its just taking a rest. It will take it a couple of years to regain its strength.