[NAFEX] home orchard problems

David Baldwin apples at ns.sympatico.ca
Sun Oct 3 07:04:53 EDT 2004

> The following years I picked fewer and fewer,
> and the last few years, almost none at all.

Interesting question!

There isn't a lot said about what the bloom has been like,
but assuming the insecticide was used after bloom, (and not
during bloom) then there must have been bloom... (However,
using Imidan that regularly wouldn't be considered IPM

There is mention of using Ephithon. I presume that this is a
typo and it should be ethephon. I wonder if this was used
earlier in the season to encourage fruit bud development, as
I'm not sure why a home orchardist would need to advance the
maturity and have a shorter storage life.

I wonder about the amount of pruning. I have spoken with
people in the past that didn't realize that pruning could be
as much a disadvantage as an advantage sometimes. There is
no indication of where this is located, if it is in a warm
area with lots of vigor, or in a cooler area where vigor is
much less. If the trees are being kept very vegetative by
nutrients and pruning, then they may be shy to set fruit

So to sum up, my guess is either the trees are not getting
pollinated, or the trees are being kept too vigorous.

Another hint might be that the trees are being summer
pruned. If they are so vigorous that they require summer
pruning, then excessive vigor would seem to be the problem.
The solution would be to stop pruning and fertilizing for a
couple of years to see if the trees will "settle down" and
bear again, and then prune and fertilize only as required in
the future.


Did you eat an APPLE today?

David Baldwin
Courtney Hill Farm
Woodville  Nova Scotia

Jacquelyn Kuehn wrote:
> Dear NAFEXers,
> Here's a question I received from a member, and wanted to put to you:
> "more than 30 years ago, I planted a home orchard which now totals about
> 60 trees.  Apple rootstocks are M-106, M-26 & 9, G-30, B9...the land had
> been in hay and legumes.  About ten years ago, I picked 64 bushels of
> apples, and a fairly good crop of pears, peaches etc.  The following
> years I picked fewer and fewer, and the last few years, almost none at all.
>     "The trees are power-sprayed with oil in April.  After petal fall,
> we spray weekly with Imidan and Captan until Aug. 15.  The trees look
> healthy--litttle scab or insect damage.  ...Five years after planting,
> we fertilize the trees using 10-10-10.  ...We prune in winter.
>     "Trees plante 8-10 years ago look healthy, but have borne little or
> no fruit this year.  Apples include Mutsu, Northern Spy, Melrose, Sweet
> Sixteen, holly, Keepsake, Spigold, Jonagold, Fuji and Gala.  Pears are
> Bartlett, Highland, Sirrine, Flemish Beauty, etc.
>     "At the suggestion of our Extension agent, we sprayed Ephithon on
> the apples this year, and also summer pruned.
>     "Why is there so little fruit?"
> Any help you could give our friend would be welcome.
> Thanks!
> Jackie Kuehn

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