The Q&A Archives: Fruit Drop

Question: Last fall I bought 2 dwarf apple trees, "freedom" and "liberty", both supposedly disease resistant cultivars good for our climate. There was plenty of fruit set on both trees early on, but now (June 30) all but a few fruit remain on the tree the rest have all dropped off prematurely. Some of the leaves have small brown spots on them. What causes this and what can be done to fix the situation?

Answer: You are right, both cultivars are disease-resistant--good choices! All apple trees go through what is termed "June drop", where they drop excess fruit. Since your trees are so young, I wouldn't worry about the fruit dropping off--the plants still need to get established and forming fruit takes energy away from the developing roots and branches.

Both these varieites are resistant to apple scab--one of the most common apple diseases. It could be that you have some minor scab damage (the plants are resistant, not immune); if just the occasional leaf has spots, I wouldn't worry. There are a few other diseases, such as cedar-apple rust, that can also cause leaf spotting. Again, if it's just a few here and there, I wouldn't worry.

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