Waimea Nurseries

How to Guide

Why Trees Fail To Bear Fruit

There are many reasons why a fruit tree may fail to bear fruit. Below are some of the most common reasons: 


Inadequate pollination 
This can be the result of many factors. A common reason is lack of a proper pollinator. Pollination problems can also result when insecticides are applied while fruit trees are flowering. 


The age of a tree
Most trees bear fruit 2-6 years after planting. Standard or full size trees also take longer to fruit than do dwarf trees. 


Adverse spring weather
Trees which flower early in the spring such as apricots and peaches are very susceptible to early spring frosts. This damage often ruins or seriously reduces the crop. Wet, cold, windy weather during blossom time can also reduce fruiting because it keeps bees from pollinating trees. 


Poor cultural practices
Fruiting plants need good soil and plenty of sun to fruit well. Developing wide branch angles early in the tree’s life will promote earlier fruiting. Over feeding especially with fertilisers with high nitrogen can also delay fruiting. 


Biennial bearing
Sometimes fruit trees bear heavily one year and sparsely the next. It occurs when the tree has so many fruit on it that it is unable to store food reserves for producing a crop next year. It is reasonably common and is best corrected by major thinning of the blossom (or the fruit) during the heavy bearing year. 


Age of Tree to Fruiting 
The age trees can be expected to bear fruit after planting: 

Apple: 2 to 5 years (depending on the rootstock)

Apricot: 2 to 5 years

Cherry (tart): 3 to 5 years

Cherry (sweet) 5 to 7 years

Feijoas: 2 to 3 years

Peach: 3 to 4 years

Pear: 4 to 6 years

Plum: 4 to 6 years

Quince: 5 to 6 years