The Q&A Archives: Newport Plum Tree Fruit Abatement

Question: I want to prevent plums from growing on my 'fruitless' Newport plum tree. I pruned the tree this last late fall quite drastically. Do I spray something or what?

Answer: Ornamental fruit trees do occasionally try to produce fruit but they generally do not mature and there usually aren't too many. However, you can use a plant growth regulator to prevent fruit formation in ornamental trees by applying it thoroughly to flowers during bloom. The chemical will cause the flowers to drop so that fruit will not be produced that year. Application timing is critical for effective fruit suppression. Growth regulators are available at home-and-garden stores and include such brands as Florel (active ingredient?ethephon; manufacturer?Monterey Chemical) and Fruit Stop (active ingredient?naphthalene acetic acid [NAA]; manufacturer?United Horticultural Supply). When using any chemical, be sure to follow the label directions to prevent personal injury and tree damage.

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