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As long as fruit trees are producing a reasonable harvest of tasty fruit, they earn their place in the garden. If crops diminish, stop, are produced biennially, or are composed of many small fruits of poor quality, one or more elements within the cultivation regime or climate may be to blame.
Unproductive fruit trees
When a fruit tree crops badly or fails to produce fruit, it is termed ‘unproductive’.
A poor crop may be seen in one or more than one of these situations:
To help ensure your trees are a fruitful as possible;
There are many possible causes of poor crops of fruit, from environmental conditions and pests or disease to more controllable causes, including overpruning or underfeeding
If no buds are present after winter, birds such as bullfinches may be to blame. As winter food becomes scarce, birds will eat buds of cherries, plums and pears
If flowers are borne, but little fruit develops:
If there are no flowers or flower buds present at all:
For growing techniques for specific fruits, please see our individual profiles;
ApplesGrow Your Own fruit
Apples: identifying fruit budsFeeding and mulching fruit treesFruit growing in containersFruit thinning
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RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.