Why isn’t my apple tree bearing fruit?
The lack of fruit is likely due to the absence of flowers, poor pollination, or low temperatures during bloom.
The lack of flowers is often due to the age of the tree. After planting, most dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees don’t flower and bear fruit for 3 to 5 years. Standard apple trees may not bear fruit for 5 to 10 years. Fruit trees have to grow and mature before they are capable of flowering and fruiting.
The growth of young apple trees may be slowed by unfavorable growing conditions (insufficient sunlight, heavy soils, etc.) and poor cultural practices. Poorly growing trees lack the vigor to form flower buds.
If the apple tree is flowering but not setting fruit, the lack of fruit may be due to poor pollination. Apples are self-unfruitful. Two different flowering apple trees (cultivars) need to be located within 50 to 100 feet of one another to insure pollination and fruit set. Cold, rainy weather during flowering drastically reduces bee activity and can also reduce pollination and fruit set.
Fruit set can also be greatly reduced by freezing temperatures during bloom. A temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (when the trees are in full bloom) will destroy 10 percent of the flowers. Ninety percent of the flowers will be destroyed when the temperature drops to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.