Why Has My Apple Tree Stopped Fruiting

It can be incredibly frustrating when your apple tree stops fruiting for no visible reason. There are several possible causes for this, each of which can have significant implications for the health of the tree, so it’s important to take action quickly when you notice a change of this sort. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why an apple tree may have stopped producing fruit.

Biological Factors

As with any living thing, there are times when a tree’s natural reproductive ability can be hindered. For instance, if the tree is immature, it may simply not be mature enough to produce fruit. One way to tell if this is the case is to take a look at the size of the apple tree. If it’s too small, it may need some extra time before it can bear fruit. Conversely, if the tree is too old, it may have reached the end of its reproductive cycle, also known as senescence.

Environmental Factors

The environment has a huge impact on a tree’s ability to bear fruit. Any changes in temperature can cause the flowers to be unable to produce a satisfactory number of seeds, ultimately leading to no fruit. If a tree is exposed to extreme temperatures – either too hot or too cold – the flowers may not be able to survive until the seeds are pollinated and fertilized. Additionally, if the tree is planted in an area that is over-exposed to sunlight, the flowers may simply not have had enough water to grow into fruit-bearing blossoms.


Nutritional deficiencies are an oft-overlooked factor in why a tree may have stopped fruiting. If a tree does not have access to the necessary nutrients it needs to produce fruit, it will not be able to reach its full reproductive potential. A good way to assess the tree’s nutritional needs is to take a soil sample and assess the level of available nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and other important minerals. A soil test can help determine if certain elements are lacking and provide an indication of what the necessary treatment for a healthy apple tree should be.

Pest and Disease

If your tree is being attacked by pests or a disease, this could be a primary factor impacting its ability to bear fruit. Common apple tree pests include aphids, scale, spider mites, leafrollers, borers, and woolly aphids. Furthermore, several fungi, known as apple tree diseases, can affect a tree’s ability to bear fruit, such as cedar-apple rust, apple scab, and fireblight. It’s important to address any pest or disease issues quickly should they occur, as these can drastically limit the potential of the tree.


Without pollination, apple trees cannot produce fruit. There are several conditions that can impede pollination, such as a lack of blooms, inclement weather, or an absence of pollinators. Be sure to check that your tree has the appropriate number of blooms and the necessary pollinators for optimal fruit production. Additionally, pruning apple trees can help to boost the number of flowers, leading to better pollination in the future.


Finally, if your apple tree has been overloaded with fruit, it can be subject to what’s known as ‘overcropping’. This is when a tree is producing more fruit than it can sustain, leading to stunted flowering, damage to the roots, poor fruit flavor, and an overall decrease in fruit production. This can be alleviated by thinning the fruit while they’re still young, enabling the tree to focus on fewer apples and thus provide more nutrition to them.

Irrigation & Watering

Adequate irrigation and watering is necessary for an apple tree to continue producing fruit. A lack of water can cause the leaves and roots of the tree to dry out, which can lead to fruit drop and other problems. To make sure your apple tree is getting enough water, monitor the soil moisture regularly and water as necessary. Additionally, it’s important to note that deeper and less frequent watering is ideal for a healthy apple tree; infrequent, shallow watering will not penetrate the root system enough to provide the tree with the water it needs.

Soil Conditions

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the soil used to plant your apple tree is healthy. Poor soil conditions can lead to a decrease in fruit production, with poor drainage and compaction as some of the more common problems. The key to improving soil conditions is to loosen the soil around the tree and ensure it has enough space to root properly. This will help ensure the tree is able to receive sufficient nutrients and water, both of which are needed for the tree to flourish and disperse the correct amounts of bloom and fruit.

Fertilising & Mulching

Fertiliser and mulch can go a long way to help apple trees get the nutrients they need. Applying a nitrogen rich fertiliser when buds form and again in late summer helps to promote healthy growth, whilst mulch can help to both insulate and act as a soil conditioner and a buffer for the tree’s roots. If a soil test has revealed a deficiency of certain minerals, then the appropriate corrective measures should be undertaken to make sure the tree has access to what it needs to be able to bear fruit.


Finally, apple trees need to be properly harvested in order to ensure they will continue to bear fruit. Once they’ve gone through the flowering and fruiting stages, apple trees should be harvested when the fruit is ripe. This encourages the tree to expend its energy into the production of new flowers and keeps its reproductive cycle in balance.


Pruning apple trees is a key part of keeping them healthy and producing fruit. Pruning can help improve airflow, reduce disease, and create a balance between growth and fruiting. Proper pruning should be done in the late winter or early spring when the tree is still dormant, and can aid the tree’s fruiting potential by helping it to grow much-needed flowers and fruit.

Disease Prevention

Finally, taking steps to prevent disease in an apple tree is a key factor in keeping it healthy and enabling it to bear fruit. Regular inspections and applications of fungicides and pesticides can help protect against pests and diseases, whilst staying on top of irrigation and fertilizer can help reduce the risk of problems. Moreover, pruning and thinning the apples can also help reduce disease pressure by providing the tree with more energy and resources to focus on producing healthy fruit.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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