How to Stop Apple tree from setting Fruit?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by markmisky, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. markmisky

    markmisky Member

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    Hi,
    I bought a home last year with a nice apple tree that is maybe 20" high. In 2004, it had tons of apples but they were green and VERY tart. Not any good for anything but baking. It also made a real mess of the lawn and I was smelling rotten apples half the winter. This year (2005) only a couple of apples. The prior owner told me it only had apples every other year.
    I'm trying to plan for 2006. I would love to keep his tree, but since the apples are worthless and make a mess, I would like to find some way to STOP the tree from setting fruit in 2006. My only other choice would be to cut it down.
    Can anyone tell me a way to stop it from setting fruit? I would rather do that than cut it down. I live in Vancouver, Wa down by Portland Oregon.

    Mark
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Why not look out some recipes for apple pie instead?

    Or put them somewhere where they can be a useful food supply for birds
     
  3. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Rising Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Mark,

    There are various sprays used by fruit growers that cause blossoms to abort, to thin the fruit on the tree. These should work for you. Look up chemical thinning for info and see what is available at a good nursery.

    I do have to say though, I probably would just bake more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2005
  4. markmisky

    markmisky Member

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    Funny, I checked all the local nursery's and nobody had an answer for my question. Guess I better try an online source. Sounds like it might be time to get the chain saw out. Sorry folks, but I don't bake and I hate the smell of rotting apples.....
     
  5. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Rising Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Understandable markmisky, most people don't bake much anymore and some people only like fresh apples.

    Anyway, try a search for chemical thinning, info on thinning apples is readily available. You just need to cause the flowers to abort before setting fruit. (A heavy spray, should wipe them all out.)

    If you really don't want the fruit, it may be worthwhile to replace the tree with something ornamental or useful that you really want to grow.
     
  6. SRTech

    SRTech Member

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    I would try giving them away to people who might be glad to bake with them.

    Also, it is very important to not leave apples on the ground, as they can cause disease to spread. Pick them up and compost them.
     
  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The reason why we pick up all fallen Apples here
    is that they become a vector for the Coddling moth
    to overwinter in the ground. If organic growers do
    not want to spray for this insect then their number
    one preventative is picking up the Apples as soon
    as they fall on the ground.

    If you want to really cut down the number of Apples
    this tree produces just prune the heck out of it every
    year. That way what Apples you do have will be of
    better quality than a host of the other baking Apples
    will be. If you want this tree to be an ornamental
    flowering Apple instead then spray Gibberellic acid
    (Ga3) about a week after petal fall. Naphthalene acetic
    acid (NAA) is a more complete chemical thinner
    applied at the same flowering stage. Both the above
    are growth hormones and are not considered restricted
    use pesticides.

    You may want to read this article below.

    Thinning Apples Chemically

    Jim
     
  8. markmisky

    markmisky Member

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    Jim,
    Thanks much for your post. Just what I've been looking for.

    Mark
     
  9. muskox

    muskox Member

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    How about grafting some good apples onto your tree. I have a similar problem with my old tree and am planning to do exactly that this spring. I haven't found a good source for the apples I want [ambrosia/honeycrisp] but when I do I will graft as many branches as I can. I will knock the rest off before they get to any size
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I like the last idea, although you complained about the fruit mess. Any bearing apple that is not kept picked will make a mess. Cut it down, grind the stump, use the wood and replant with a small-fruited ("seeded") tree if you still want a tree in that spot.

    If I was going to bother spraying a fruit tree every year, it would be to make sure I got some nice fruit.
     
  11. Would removal of all the buds stop the fruit from growing?
     
  12. jgoss

    jgoss Member

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    No disrespect to anyone, but those who suggest giving away apples, or baking more, or picking the blossoms may not understand the situation. Last may my wife and I rented a home with two mature apple trees that have not been given any attention in years. We can not remove the trees because we do not own them. Last year I hauled away two pickup truck loads full of apples, in addition to several bushels that we gave away or used. We also put five or six bushels of apples out with the trash. I spent at least two hours picking up apples every week before I mowed. I have trimmed and thinned the trees this year, so they should be a little more under control. but the notion of baking pies with pickup truck loads of apples is ridiculous.
    Even after trimming I have trees that are at least forty feet tall and thirty feet across. They have thousands upon thousands of blossoms. The idea of picking enough blossoms to make a significant difference is absurd. These might be good suggestions for a ten year old dwarf tree that has been properly pruned and cared for, but they certainly would not work in my situation.
     
  13. Marcus Toole

    Marcus Toole Member

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    I understand your situation, but it seems such a shame to waist so much usable fruit or to deliberately prevent fruitful trees from bearing. Here is an idea which may work, there may be a community group or church in your area willing to take on the project, as a group, to harvest the apples and donate them to the local food bank or some similar organization. This way someone else is picking and hauling away truckloads of fruit and not you. Speaking as a pastor, this sounds like a good benevolence project for a church youth group. It's something to think about. They could even sale the fruit to a processor as a fund raiser if there is a fruit processor in your area. God bless.
     
  14. Stacy Jett

    Stacy Jett Member

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    In the coming years, i'd be kicking myself if I kept a fruit tree from potential food. A good question could have been: "How can I make the fruit taste better on my very productive Apple tree?" I would never ever consider killing or stopping something that was willing to bear fruit- ask any starving person or animal what they'd do. And just think!! After you picked up all that fruit- you wouldn't have to go to the gym!! yeyy! :~}
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2012

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