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Fruit Tree Q&A, Part II

Fuji Apple Tree

You've Got Fruit Tree Questions, We Have Answers

Now that your fruit trees are producing fruit, you may have similar questions to some that we've received from customers. For this fruit tree Q&A, we consulted with our garden gurus, for solutions and provided their advice, about specific fruiting issues, along with some about general care. If you have more questions, stop by the nursery, send us an email or reach out on social. It’s always helpful when you have photos to show us. We're here to grow your green thumb.

You'll notice a theme: the importance of water, fertilizer, sunlight, and drainage.

Did you miss our Fruit Tree Q&A, Part I?
Fruit Tree Q&A, Part I

Q. Is it possible to have a fruit tree that is supposed to be self-fruitful accidentally have only male or female on it? I got my Avocado ‘Lil Cado’ about six years ago and have never gotten fruit.

A. It is extremely unlikely that a self-fruiting variety of avocado could have only male or female genetics, as avocados have a very complicated ​way of pollinating one another. Type A varieties have blooms that open as female and receive pollen in the morning and then shed pollen as male the following afternoon; conversely, Type B varieties have blooms that open and are receptive to pollen in the afternoon, then reopen and shed pollen the next afternoon. So, if you have a self-pollinating variety, this process happens at the same time during the bloom season. The more likely culprit is one or more of the amount of water it gets, drainage, and sun or shade exposure.

We encourage you to bring bagged leaf samples in along with some photos of your tree so that we can better diagnose.

Q. Is it normal this time of year to have a bunch of figs that are full size but still firm (little squishy) and dry inside? I deep water twice a week. Will they ripen and become juicy over time, and do I need to provide any nutrients?

A. Figs require low to moderate water, however, for them to produce a desirable fruit, they do require more water, along with a good organic fertilizer like E.B. Stone™ Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food and adequate sunlight in order to facilitate the production of fructose.

In your case, there are a few things to consider:
  • Too much water will result in cracking fruit and yellow leaves
  • Too little water will result in yellow leaves that drop, and lack of fruit production
  • Fertilize fig trees in winter and spring
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the tree to help retain moisture, just don't put the mulch up against the trunk of the tree

Q. We have an apple tree growing with clusters of tiny apples starting to grow. Should I thin out the clusters to allow for bigger, quality apples, or leave them alone?

A. Yes, thinning fruit in clusters is always a good idea. We suggest removing about one-half of the fruit in each cluster. This will ensure that more nutrients and energy are available for the remaining fruit, and it keeps the extra weight off of vulnerable branches. As the tree matures, you can reduce how much thinning you do and still get some good-sized fruit.

Q. I have a pluot that’s been in the ground for two years. It’s been hit hard by aphids and is now showing only one pluot on the entire tree. Is it the aphids? Or the age? I’ve treated with Neem Oil recently.

A. Depending on the variety of the pluot, it may require a pollinator. Aphids can certainly harm plants, but generally won’t cause them to not develop fruit, and are typically easily treated. Pluot trees require at least six hours of full sun, adequate water, and good drainage. They should also be fertilized with a good organic fruit specific fertilizer at least three to four times per year, such as E.B. Stone™ Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food.

Q. My lemon tree had some nice blossoms two weeks ago but now the leaves are turning yellow and the fruit is falling off. What should I do?

A. In most cases, with citrus and most other flowering and/or fruiting plants, when you have yellow leaves that are dropping from the tree and fruit dropping as well, this is caused by either too much water, or inadequate drainage, or both. Citrus needs adequate water, but they need to drain quickly. Consider cutting back on the number of days you water. In addition, be sure to fertilize with E.B. Stone™ Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food according to the directions. The organic mix will not burn and provides essential nutrients for bountiful crops.
Tips for Growing Citrus

Q. I purchased a lime tree in September 2018 and planted it in ground. When first purchased it had blooms but since then has not bloomed again. The tree looks healthy and has put on a lot of branches and fresh green growth ever since, but no blooms. Any suggestions?

A. For citrus to produce blossoms and fruit, they need four essential things: at least six hours of full sun, a citrus specific fertilizer like E.B. Stone™ Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food, adequate water, and good drainage. You are welcome to bring bagged leaf samples in along with some photos of your tree so that we can better diagnose.
Tips for Growing Citrus

Q. We replanted our Meyer Lemon tree from a whiskey barrel into the ground this weekend. The blossoms seem to be okay, but I’m worried that we will lose this year’s crop. The barrel was starting to bust open, so we didn’t feel like we could wait until winter to move it.

A. It is likely that you may lose some, if not all the blossoms and fruit by transplanting your lemon during warm weather. Transplanting a producing fruit tree will typically set it back about a year or so. Once transplanted, it is important avoid over-watering, be sure to provide good drainage in the new planting location, and ensure at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Fertilize with E.B. Stone™ Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food as directed on the package. The right water, sunlight and nutrients are the keys to citrus success.
Tips for Growing Citrus

Q. If I want my dwarf apple tree to grow, should I cut off all the apples? And what fertilizer would you recommend? (It's in a pot)

A. If your dwarf apple is young, we recommended that you remove the fruit the first year of production, and about one-half of the fruit during the second year of production, then continuing to thin out fruit every year after that. Try to leave six inches between fruit for air circulation. It's better to have fewer delicious apples, than many small, less tasty apples. When young trees are establishing, the blossoms and fruit take a lot of energy away from the roots, so definitely fertilize with E.B. Stone™ Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food and combine with E.B. Stone™ Organics Soil Sulfur to assist in the intake of nitrogen.

Q. When should I thin my fruit tree?

A. You can thin your fruit anytime that fruit is visibly congregating too close together. We suggest as soon as fruit is ½” to ¾” in diameter, because it is easily visible and easy to grip. Thinning fruit is a great practice because it allows for air circulation (which minimizes pests and disease), less weight on vulnerable branches, and the production of larger, better tasting fruit.

Q. What do you recommend? Our orange tree produces sour, dry oranges.

A. Fertilize with E.B. Stone™ Organic Citrus & Fruit Tree Food every six to eight weeks and increase water during fruit development, being careful not to over water. Adequate drainage is also essential. A sure sign of over-watering is continually damp or soggy soil at the base of the tree, curled leaves, yellow leaves, and potentially root rot.
Tips for Growing Citrus
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