3 year old apple trees not producing any more

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I picked up three apple trees 3 or 4 years back (in the spring), and planted them in a semi shaded area, where there are some birch and poplar trees growing about 3 meters away. All three trees produced fruit the next year, (which surprised me) but have produced little or nothing since.
They dont get a lot of direct sunlight where they are, but they seem to be growing well and thriving, just not producing fruit. Last spring (05) I planted 2 more in an area that gets a bit more sun and slightly more out in the open, and it looks like they will produce a lot this fall.
Anyway, back to the first three I planted, I am wondering if it is a matter of pruning, location, or both. I suppose I could possible move them, although they are probably quite well rooted by now. But I have seen other apple trees growing wild where they were quite shaded and there was tons of apples on them, mind you that was in coastal BC and I now live in northeastern Alberta.
So if anyone here could help me out I'd be grateful! I can send jpegs of the trees locations or of the trees themselves if that would help...
TIA
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A few facts are missing. Did the trees produce any blossoms? If yes, then it could be a pollination issue. If not, the trees may be in a biennial cycle, where they will produce fruit every other year. Control against this is proper thinning, so that the trees do not overproduce in any given year.
Sherwin D.
TG wrote:

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You will most likely never get apples. They require full sunshine. Anything else I can say is moot. However, you also have to select the proper chill hour trees.

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Maybe you should tell that to several apple trees in my backyard getting a half day of sun.
Sherwin D.
Jangchub wrote:

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How long is half a day?
wrote:

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Say about 4 hours. Most of my apple trees are semi-dwarfs on the west side of my house and only get the afternoon sun. A few are on my south boundary north of a line of my neighbors tall pines and buckthorn. Even less light gets there.
Sherwin D.
Jangchub wrote:

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Eventually your trees will stop producing because of the low light situation.
In the case of the original poster, apple trees don't actually start producing fruit for up to seven or more years old. The first few are from stress related last ditch effort to produce seeds. Nature is interesting.
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Eventually??? My trees have been producing for 15 years! I think they will continue to produce until they die of old age. Some of them will probably outlive me.
Jangchub wrote:

You are talking about Standard size trees. Dwarfs and semi-dwarfs produce several years earlier. I have had trees produce a few apples one year after I grafted them. I skipped letting them grow, but I get several more on successive seasons.

This last ditch effort is just that. A tree is dying. In his case, the trees have been healthy for a few years after planting, although the blossom production is still a problem.
I'm curious if you are getting these ideas from your own experiences, or are interpreting what you were told or read about.
Sherwin D.

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Jangchub wrote:

transplanted? Or sprouted from a cutting or seed?
The trees were in 5 gallon pots and about 6' tall when I planted them.
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From the day it is planted in the ground.
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What would really help is if you tell us what variety of apple these are, and on what kind of rootstock (dwarf, semi-dwarf, or standard).
Sherwin D.
TG wrote:

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the first year they produced on what was stored when you planted them. actually, your instructions for planting should have told you to strip the flowers off to let the tree growth take all the energy. growth and reproduction are opposing needs. once trees produce, they divert energy from growth. sun is essential for production, and if you didnt buy dwarf apple trees, I suggest that you do and make ABSOLUTELY SURE you are on extremely hard rootstock, something like P22. It could also be that winter is killing the fruiting buds. I am not sure what your zone is and how winter hardy your apple selection is. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
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Thanks for the answers all.
The first year they did not produce, it was the next year.
There has been very little or no blossoming in the past 2 springs
I am in zone 2 or 2a, and I'm not sure what the trees are as the labels have faded.
snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

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You should easily find varieties to suit your conditions, but no fruit tree will bloom or fruit unless it is in full sun. Full sun means all day long, morning till evening, at least 8-10 hours.
The only reason it put out any fruit was a mechanism of survival. The tree was very stressed out and trees will produce a few fruits under those conditions when they are ready to die.

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Jangchub wrote:

Where are you getting your information from? Yes, they will do better in full sun, but it is not a requirement as I know from my own experiences.
Sherwin D.

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"Apple trees (fruiting varieties) are listed as hardy from zones 4 to 8, though there are a few crabapple species that are hardy to Zone 2. If you want to grow an apple tree, however, it isn't impossible! Planting the tree on a south facing slope with good drainage and protection from winter winds can raise the microclimate of an area, to the point that you may have success with apples. It can be quite amazing what you can grow in lower zones if you put plants in just the right places. I would suggest that the best place to look for plants that will survive your conditions would be a local nursery, if you have one, or in seed catalogues such as McFayden, West Coast Seeds, or Thompson and Morgan, if you want a few names to get started with." http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/forums/showthread.php?tU6 you need to contact a university or some such that can give you advice on what to plant and how to create microclimates. I think the blossoms are getting killed. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

If you read his postings carefully, he says he almost never gets any blossoms. If you are refering to something killing the flower buds, that is something else.
Sherwin D.
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TG,
Here are a few measures you can take to try and correct this problem.
Try some light Winter pruning. It sometimes stimulates the trees to produce blossoms.
Check the chemical makeup of the soil around the trees. It could be something like a Nitrogen deficiency, or something else.
Try pruning some of the trees shading the apple trees to see if light is a factor. As I have mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I have apple and other fruit trees that do ok in partial sun. It depends somewhat on which variety you have.
Sherwin D.
TG wrote:

--------------D3311B00688890152840975B Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> TG, <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; Here are a few measures you can take to try and correctthis problem. <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; Try&nbsp; some light Winter pruning.&nbsp; It sometimesstimulates the trees to produce <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; blossoms. <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; Check the chemical makeup of the soil around the trees.&nbsp;It could be something <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; like a Nitrogen deficiency, or something else. <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; Try pruning some of the trees shading the apple trees tosee if light is a factor.&nbsp; As <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; I have mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I have appleand other fruit trees that <br>&nbsp;&nbsp; do ok in partial sun.&nbsp; It depends somewhat on whichvariety you have. <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Sherwin D. <p>TG wrote:<blockquote TYPE=CITE>Thanks for the answers all. <p>The first year they did not produce, it was the next year. <p>There has been very little or no blossoming in the past 2 springs <p>I am in zone 2 or 2a, and I'm not sure what the trees are as the labels <br>have faded.
<br>> the first year they produced on what was stored when you plantedthem.&nbsp; actually, <br>> your instructions for planting should have told you to strip theflowers off to let <br>> the tree growth take all the energy.&nbsp; growth and reproductionare opposing needs. <br>> once trees produce, they divert energy from growth.&nbsp; sun isessential for production, <br>> and if you didnt buy dwarf apple trees, I suggest that you do andmake ABSOLUTELY <br>> SURE you are on extremely hard rootstock, something like P22. <br>> It could also be that winter is killing the fruiting buds.&nbsp;I am not sure what your <br>> zone is and how winter hardy your apple selection is. Ingrid<br>>
<br>>>I picked up three apple trees 3 or 4 years back (in the spring),and <br>>>planted them in a semi shaded area, where there are some birch and <br>>>poplar trees growing about 3 meters away. All three trees producedfruit <br>>>the next year, (which surprised me) but have produced little or nothing<br>>>since. <br>>> <br>>>They dont get a lot of direct sunlight where they are, but they seemto <br>>>be growing well and thriving, just not producing fruit. Last spring(05) <br>>>I planted 2 more in an area that gets a bit more sun and slightlymore <br>>>out in the open, and it looks like they will produce a lot this fall.<br>>> <br>>>Anyway, back to the first three I planted, I am wondering if it isa <br>>>matter of pruning, location, or both. I suppose I could possiblemove <br>>>them, although they are probably quite well rooted by now. But Ihave <br>>>seen other apple trees growing wild where they were quite shadedand <br>>>there was tons of apples on them, mind you that was in coastal BCand I <br>>>now live in northeastern Alberta.<br>>> <br>>>So if anyone here could help me out I'd be grateful! I can send jpegsof <br>>>the trees locations or of the trees themselves if that would help...<br>>> <br>>> <br>>>TIA <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> <br>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <br>> List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at <br>> <a href="http://weloveteaching.com/puregold /">http://weloveteaching.com/puregold /</a> <br>> sign up: <a href="http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup ">http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&amp ;q=puregold&amp;qt_s=Group+lookup</a> <br>> www.drsolo.com <br>> Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame <br>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <br>> I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregoldwebsite. <br>> I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregoldsite. <br>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <br>> Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan</blockquote></html>
--------------D3311B00688890152840975B--
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Thanks
The trees seem very healthy, lots of leaves and new growth, just no blossoms. I was thinking about pruning this fall/early winter, do you know any good online resources on pruning?
I am thinking about relocating them to a sunnier location, but they have been in about 4 years now and are pretty established. Where they are they do get 5-6 hours of sunlight in the months of may/june/jul and a tad less on each side of those.
A soil test is a good idea, I did put in some fruit tree spikes this spring as well.
sherwindu wrote:

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TG wrote:

There are numerous sites on the web about pruning. Just plug in 'fruit tree pruning' into google.

I would only move one at this time as an experiment to see if sunlight is really a factor here. Of course, moving it introduces a new variable of possibly different soil, etc.

As I answered before, that normally is plenty of sunlight.

Just noticed this remark. You are in a very cold climate where most apple varieties will not thrive, or may even die. If your variety is not very cold hearty, that could also be the problem here. Strange that you were able to get blossoms the first year, but you may have had a mild winter that year.
Sherwin D.

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