Apple trees being temperate zone fruits, requires a certain level of chilly weather every year to trigger the flowering phase. Most trees require about 500 to 1,000 hours of cold winter weather conditions ranging from 40 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, some tree varieties perform better under low-temperature conditions, such as the Pettingill, Gordon, and Winter Banana tree varieties.
There are various reasons why an apple tree may fail to flower. For instance, the climate, environmental conditions, and age influence your apple tree’s flowering ability. Under favorable conditions, your tree should blossom at the beginning of every spring. Let’s discuss each of the above factors in detail.
How Much Does The Age Of The Apple Tree Matter?
Typically trees do not blossom until they attain the flowering age. Blooming indicates that a tree’s reproduction process has begun since, just like animals, the tree must attain their maturity age before they can start reproducing. For your information, apples will take at least two years from planting before they start flowering.
Ideally, you should count this age from the time you planted your apple tree, not just from the time of seeding them. Besides, cultivars of various varieties will take different times to start flowering. For instance, the Yellow Transplant and Macintosh may take about 3 to 5 years to begin flowering.
Other large apple tree varieties like the Northern Spy can take over 15 years before they start flowering. Generally, dwarf tree varieties will take a shorter period to start flowering than large tree varieties. This is because the larger tree varieties put most of their energy into vegetative growth and will take more time to start blooming and fruit.
Can Environment and Climate Prevent My Apple Tree From Flowering?
Are you aware that planting your apple trees in an inappropriate location or a place with inadequate growth conditions can delay or prevent their flowering process? Every tree’s blooming process is influenced by certain environmental conditions that must be met for blooming to begin. Most of these conditions have been documented by the U.S Agriculture Department of hardiness zones.
This implies that if you plant apple trees whose optimal flowering zone ranges from 3 to 6 in a 10 zone region can result in a bloom-free apple tree. Note that apple trees are susceptible to chill requirements, and failure to meet those requirements can hinder the blooming process. For instance, during the winter dormancy, the apple tree must be exposed to a low temperature, preferably below 45 degrees F, since this triggers the tree’s flowering hormones.
Failing to expose your tree to these minimum chilling hours’ means failing to alert the tree’s internal flowering signal that the spring season is approaching to start blooming. This is particularly common in isolation cases during a hot winter season, especially in moderate climates.
Note that an incorrect planting location can also contribute to a bloom-free tree, mainly because apples require adequate sunlight. This means that planning your apples in an already crowded area with a partial shade can slow down the flowering process. For instance, planning two or three trees close to each other can further worsen the blooming process.
What Type Of Soil Is Best For Apple Trees?
Typically, apple trees thrive in a well-balanced soil in terms of nutritional and soil elements. Depending on the soil condition, your apple tree can overfeed or underfeed. For instance, the soil could have the right balance of nutritional elements, but they are inadequate, or the right food reserves but inadequate elements, and this means that your tree is going to starve.
Over-fertilizing trees are one of the most repeated mistakes made by apple farmers. For instance, too much fertilizer application rich in nitrogen will result in vigorous tree growth at the expense of blooms. Besides, heavy pruning can result in your tree growing taller faster, which can interfere with blossoming hormones.
An ideal tree for blooming and faster fruit maturity should have a moderate growth rate and relatively smaller in size; otherwise, most of the energy will go on vegetative growth.
How To Handle An Apple Tree That Doesn’t Bloom?
Is your tree not blooming even after reaching the blooming age? Kindly relax and follow these measures to help rectify the problem. Here are simple steps to help facilitate productivity on any apple trees, whether mature or newly planted.
Soil Testing And Fertilizing
The first most important step is testing the soil around the plant area. This is done to ascertain if your tree has the right quality and quantity of food and soil elements.
Note that apple trees require various nutrients to reach their maximum flowering ability. However, the soil nutrients may get exhausted, which means replenishing these nutrients using fertilizers. An ideal time to fertilize your tree is in the late spring before the plants start shooting.
Depending on the nutritional content in your soil, apply the most appropriate fertilizer. The 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer is highly recommended and should be applied evenly around the feeding root zone.
Pruning Your Fruit Tree
Careful pruning plays a very vital role in the blooming ability of your trees. Pruning helps redirect most of the tree’s energy to fruit-bearing branches, helping spur healthy branches. Note that the ideal time for pruning is during the dormancy period during early spring or late winter.
By removing the dead or weak branches further helps remove the crown, thus facilitating more light. An open crown can help your tree produce more flowers. Remember, pruning helps remove unnecessary branches, but at the same time, you must ensure to protect the tree’s healing stability to avoid redirecting most of the tree’s energy to the healing process rather than blooming. Remember that root pruning can also encourage blooming.
You will require a sharp spade to dig a shallow trench around the tree perimeter. Digging helps cut small sucker roots, thus helping concentrate energy at the tree’s center, thus increasing its energy levels and resources necessary for blooming.
Cross-pollination is more recommend in apple trees than self-pollination since this helps the plant to produce more fruits. This is attained by planting a wide variety of apple trees. However, ensure the tree varieties you plant have the same blooming season.