Fruit not maturing on cherry tree

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by randbguy, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Re: No fruit on cherry tree

    Hello all, this is my first post and I am very anxious to get some good advice for a similar problem I am having. I too have bought a house with a mature cherry tree close to the house. This is the fourth year and fruit production still isn't looking very good! The first season was a shock as the tree prodeced lots of blossoms and there were bees around. I looked forward to some nice cherries but only got one or two, and the birds ate those. Next season, same thing but I put a bag over two of them and was able to determine that they were the sour variety. I had heard that the nitrogen in lawn fertilizer has a negative inluence on fruit production so I stayed 5 feet back from the drip line with the lawn fertilizer, and I pruned the tree quite a bit to improve the shape and height, and air circlation, I also used dormant oil and lime sulphur before the buds opened, before the third season started. . Still no luck!! This year things were looking pretty good, not fantastic but I'd say 1/3 of the blossoms started to make little cherries, finnally! Now, of those budding cherries, about 95% are turning yellow and dropping. NUTS!!! I did give it a 4 hour dribble watering just after the blossoms, as we had no rain for 10 days and things were drying up. I have mulch and pine bark on top of that for a 6' diamiter around the tree. Thanks so much for any advice you can give me! I have a couple of pictures too.
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Did you notice a lot of bees this year?
     
  3. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Not a plethora but there were bees for sure. My neighbour says that fruit trees need a lot of pollenation and that if there were lots of bees I'd have lots of cherries. Is this true? I thought that like mamals only one grain would do the trick. Something else I didn't mention, the tree is generating quite a bit of new growth right now, so I'm guessing that the focus has changed to growth and thats why most of the fruit is withering. Should I try to get some bees for next season?

    Thanks all!
     
  4. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    You said you managed to get a few fruit in past years, so my question: is it a morello or amarelle type -- the former being of dark-colored skin and juice, the latter with colorless juice? 'Montmorency', for example, is an amarelle and often planted in solid blocks, as it is self-fruitful. Morello types, broadly speaking, may be more likely to be self-incompatible. However, maybe this isn't the problem, since small fruits do begin to develop.

    Stings (egg deposition) by plum curculio can cause fruit to abort and fall off; look for a crescent-shaped puncture -- also a good way to avoid eating cherries with larvae inside!

    Finally, maybe it does have something to do with nutrients. I would recommend a fertilizer that is balanced in N and K and with little or no Phosphorus, which could be used for both your lawn and your tree. On the web I found a Nature Safe 9-0-9; something like that would do fine.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    When I try to blow up the pictures I get a message telling me it's a bitmap image, asking me do I want to save it to disk etc. I don't. If you could post pictures that could be enlarged without downloading I could probably tell you what general type of cherry it is.
     
  6. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Thanks for your help everyone! I think this is a Montmorency, the cherries are sour, and the juice is probably clear, as the flesh of the cherry I tried was pale yellow, with a bright red skin . The tree is very heathy as the new growth is vigorous and the new leaves look shinny and lush. When I noticed the fruit turning yellow about a week ago now, I bought some fretilizer spikes for fruit trees in hopes that that might help. Not much rain since then though so I watered them a fair bit. The numbers were something like (3 16 9). One more thing, I looked at one of the dropped cherries and noticed it was very rubbery and leathery. I cut it open as I thought there was no pit, but you can clearly see the development of the pit with the seed inside, just hasn't turned woody yet. The cherries that are maturing do have a woody pit and are still green and growing ok. I think I may get about 100 - 150 or so from the thousands that began to develope three weeks ago. Better than previous years I guess. Sorry Ron, I tried to rename the photo's I took but It will not accept the jpg designation. I can expand them ok though. Go figure? I will attach another just in case.
     

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  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Does look like a sour cherry. You may just be seeing normal over-setting and thinning process.
     
  8. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    I'm still curious about what my neighbor told me about pollenation. Do fruit flowers need multiple pollenations or is one enough?
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The cherries around here, flower about the same amount each year. But one year in 3 or 4, there's a bumper crop, while in the other years, most (or even all) of the fruit auto-thin and drop, as Ron says just normal over-setting and thinning.

    It all depends on how much energy resources the tree has available for fruit production - a heavy crop in one year exhausts the tree's reserves, and it takes a few years of photosynthesis to build them up again.
     
  10. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Thanks Michael, but my question is does each blossom require multiple pollenations or will one grain do the trick, as sperm and egg in mamals?
     
  11. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    One pollen grain, yes. But having other sources of pollen can increase set. Pollen has to grow a tube in order to fertilize the ovule, and some types may grow faster than others, which can be important as the flower ovule has a limited life span. See article: http://www.goodfruit.com/issues.php?article=74&issue=25
     
  12. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Just an update on the progress of my tree. I put down some fruit tree fertilizer spikes in June of this year and have noticed something interesting this fall. The leaves stayed on the tree untill just last weekend when we had -10C temperatures and 10 cm's of snow. That has never happened before! The leaves usually fall off by mid October. Most trees where I live had the leaves stay on a little longer this season but tree has really outdone itself even by that comparason. Most of the leaves were still green but many had turned yellow, when they did fall. Any thoughts on this?
    Is there anything I can do before the buds come out for next season to increase the fruit production? I could do some pruning as there is quite a bit of new growth from the last pruninig I did two years ago. What do you think?

    Thanks for your help! John
     
  13. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy John,
    You said the tree is a Montmorency. If so then it is self-fruitful. Hence I cannot understand why you are not getting heavy fruit set that sour cherries are famous for. Your tree and the close up of the leaves look healthy enough. My suggestion is to leave the tree alone - no fertilizing but make sure there is adequate soil moisture. Do you get late frost in your area? The pistils are damaged at minus 2 from the balloon stage onwards. When that happens, the tree will still continue to bloom heavily but all fruits will abort.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    In future do not use spikes or fertilize in June (unless that is the start of the growing season in Edmonton). Use a granular fertilizer, spread over the surface, during fall (preferably) or spring (second best).
     
  15. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    In terms of NPK, what is considered to be the best or better fertilizer for stone fruit trees (like cherries, plums, apricots, peaches) for good fruiting as well as healthy trees. What is the disadvantage in fertilizing at times other than fall or spring; and why is fall considered better time than spring. The aswers will help in keeping a healthy backyard orchard (in Zone 5).
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Identification of best fertilizer formula affected by existing nutrient content of soil (as well as mineral content of irrigation water) - sampling and testing required for precision.

    "In the spring the air is getting warmer with the longer days but the soils are cold, generally wet and poorly aerated. With the spring flush of growth, root activity proceeds slowly since the bulk of the energy from the leaves goes to the new top growth. On the other hand, in the fall the soils are warm while the air is getting cooler and the length of the days, shorter. The soils are generally better aerated and when combined with greater energy levels in the stems and roots, root absorption of nutrients proceeds rapidly."

    --Carl E. Whitcomb

    http://www.lacebarkinc.com/
     
  17. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    Thank you, Ron B.
    It makes good sense.
     
  18. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    Biggam has mentioned in this thread " I would recommend a fertilizer that is balanced in N and K and with little or no Phosphorus, which could be used for both your lawn and your tree. "

    What disadvantage of Phosphorus presence (or high concentration) is Bigam referring to in this case for fruit trees.
     
  19. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    Phosphorus does little good in this case because it will not move through the soil into the rootzone of the tree; it binds to the upper soil particles, and a possible disadvantage is polluting local waterways if erosion carries the soil away.

    If anything, put a little organic fert. in early spring. Don't prune; you'd prune off fruit buds.
     
  20. biggam

    biggam Active Member

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    I thought of something not to take for granted: how much sunlight does the tree receive?
    Another thing, if the tree was grown from seed and is not a true 'Montmorency', you should not expect large crops, and it could certainly be subject to damage from late spring frosts, as was noted in another reply.
     
  21. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Thanks for your replies!! I have been watching as spring isn't too far off and it wil be time to see what happens this year. I can only hope. Some of your comments and observations are making me think, so let me address some of the ideas you all have contributed.
    On the point of sunlight, it receives sun all day, no problem there. The interesting thing though may be the origin of the tree. Since it is a mature tree now I can only quess at how it was started. It is not a dwarf, ( no grafted root system ) so it could well have been started from a pit! I have heard before that apple trees started from seeds don't always turn out to be the variety of apple, the seed was taken from. Is there any way of knowing or identifying if this is the case with my tree?

    Regards, John
     
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I was reading here and there recently in Whitcomb's 2006 edition and he seems to have done a flip-flop on the fertilizer timing, now saying fall is good but spring is better (doing both, if needed). Haven't read full discussion yet, just mentioning this now while I am looking at what I posted earlier here.

    If the your cherry is a seedling it may vary somewhat from the named cultivar but won't necessarily be inferior or markedly different. Apple trees definitely do vary markedly when grown from seed, as do hybrid roses.
     
  23. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Hello to all of you. Spring has arrived and my cherry tree has exploded into blossom. I haven't seen any bees yet but I am not home during the day and the temperatures are still cool in the evenings when I get home. Let's see what happens in the next few days. I have heard of a fly trap that you put in the tree to catch the flies that lay eggs in the forming fruit of cherry trees. When should I put these up and what makes these things work. I looked in our local hardware store and they don't carry one this year. I think I saw something called a "red ball" ? Can I make up something on my own?

    Thanks, John
     
  24. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    John mentioned " flies that lay eggs in the forming fruit ---- "
    I thought that is what happens to the apples with worms inside because some insects lay eggs in the forming fruit.
     
  25. randbguy

    randbguy Member

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    Hello again! Another update, there are lots of blossoms and lots of bees around them this year, but I an noticing that there are also quite a few flies accompanying them! I have read that these flies are laying eggs and their larva will bcome worms in the cherries. What can I do to deal with these effectively? Any ideas?

    John
     

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