The Q&A Archives: rid tree of fruit but not flowers

Question: large flowering crabapple, bears tons of mushy fruit that makes a mess in the fall when leaves fall. Is there something to spray it with that would allow it to flower but not bear fruit?

Answer: Crabapple trees can withstand heavy pruning. By selectively thinning out the fruiting branches each year you can minimize the crop that the tree produces. Carefully inspect your tree and you will be able to determine which branches will flower and bear fruit. They are the smallest, newest branches on the tree. Remove these small branches by cutting them back to the limbs that form the structure of the tree. You'll end up with a picturesque specimen tree without the messy fruit drop. Or, you can sometimes purchase a chemical called Fruit Stop. You may have to ask around - not everyone carries it. You spray it on the tree when the flowers are open and it prevents pollination so few if any fruits form. Best wishes with your tree!

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