The Q&A Archives: Trees drop unripened fruit.

Question: I have a stanley plum and sweet cherry. They develop fruit and when they are 2/3 grown the fruit falls off. I cut off all the diseased looking branches last year. (The second fruiting year for the cherry.) I stopped spraying the trees a few years back due to constant rain in this area. Also, our peaches

Answer: When the flowers on your trees are not completely pollinated, the fruit will begin to form and then be aborted. That can account for immature fruit drop. Fruit trees also go through a self-thinning process when they are carrying more fruit than they can possibly develop. They simply drop some of the fruit. The gummy stuff you describe is caused by a fungal disease called brown rot. Very common during wet springs when the flowers get wet. There is nothing you can do about the weather, but there are protective fungicides you can spray on your trees to prevent this disease. The fungicide needs to be applied at certain intervals (as described on the label) and will have to be repeated if rainfall occurs shortly after application. Best wishes with your fruit trees!

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