Apple trees produce two types of buds:
- Fruit buds, from which the flowers, and then fruit will form
- Wood or growth buds, carry leaves, but no flowers
By identifying which buds are which, you can ensure that you leave enough fruit buds on a tree for a good crop.
By November a plump, round bud will have formed which carries the flowers in April and May. The bud scales on fruit buds are typically downy, especially on apples, pears, peaches and nectarines.
In summer, fruit buds are often 'supported' by a surrounding cluster of leaves, perhaps the rosette of a spur, or the tip of a shoot.
Wood or growth buds
Wood or growth buds (i.e. buds carrying leaves but no flowers) are easily distinguished from fruit buds by being slender, pointed buds borne in a leaf axil. These buds are usually much smaller and more insignificant than fruit buds.