The Q&A Archives: Apples that don't mature

Question: I have two dwarf apple trees that bloom nicely every year and form apples but they only get about golf ball size or a bit larger and fall off. Is there something I need to do to help them mature?

Answer: Several conditions can cause early fruit drop. Lack of maturity will keep your trees from developing fruit. As they grow older, your trees will be able to produce more fruit. Droughty conditions can also cause fruit drop, as can cold or wet weather when your trees are in bloom.

An apple is formed when an apple blossom is pollinated by traveling honeybees. If a particular apple blossom is well pollinated, the resulting piece of fruit will contain an average of 5-12 seeds regardless of the variety, and the piece of fruit can attain maximum size.

Seed development in turn stimulates apple apple's tissue development, and specifically the tissue near the seed. If a blossom is poorly pollinated ? for example, due to too-cool weather or too much rain, both of which can keep pollen-carrying honey bees away ? fewer seeds will form, and the resulting fruit will be small in size. An apple with few seeds will likely "drop" (fall to the ground) before maturing. An apple that develops with more seeds on one side than the other will grow lopsided.

While you can't control the weather, you can make sure the trees are getting adequate water from spring through summer to ensure a good fruit crop.

Hope this information is helpful!

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