Seeing your apple tree drop fruits prematurely can be really upsetting. It is important to know what is causing your apples to fall and obtain a full harvest at the end of the season.
Farmers and hobbyists experience early fruit droppings all the time due to natural causes. Mother nature has its own way of reducing heavy crops in order to allow the tree to provide healthy growth for the remaining ones. So, this is completely normal and you shouldn’t worry about it.
However, if the tree is dropping too many apples leaving only a few, here, your attention is required. There are several reasons behind apples falling before ripening. In order to treat this issue, it is necessary to learn the cause first.
In this article, I will introduce to you the reasons why apples are dropping prematurely.
Table of Content
- Causes of Apples Dropping Prematurely
Causes of Apples Dropping Prematurely
Almost every gardener knows that only 10% of apple blossoms become fruits. Factually, fruit trees are unable to feed their entire self, that is why a slight fall of apples is considered normal. This phenomenon is a natural process for the tree to regulate the amount of fruit it can feed.
Old trees shed more fruit than young plants. However, the natural process does not provide a significant fall of the fruit. If this happens, then there is another cause of the problem. This natural process is also referred to as the ‘June drop‘
This phenomenon usually occurs between early June and mid-July, depending on the area you live in. This drop is considered a way for the tree to prune itself as a form of protection. Because if it does not prune itself, it will result in a heavy crop that the tree will not be able to handle.
Lack of Water
If enough moisture is not provided to the roots, the self-preservation process is activated due to the early delamination of the fruits. It is necessary to regularly check the soil moisture, if you find the first inch of the soil is dry, water it.
If you water the apple trees a little, the leaves will begin to absorb moisture from the fruits, which will cause them to fall off. Frequent soil moistening also leads to premature fall of immature fruits.
Advice! For watering, experts recommend to water into a ring around the plant, not under the stem of the plant.
As a rule, 3 gallons of water are enough for watering an annual plant, and more than 9 gallons for an adult apple tree. If the summer is dry, it is recommended to carry out additional watering at the time when the active growth of fruits begins and also in September.
Sudden rainfall in summer can also affect the fruits. If the drainage measures are not taken into consideration, your apple fruits may fall. That is why it is important when rain falls in summer, we should always regulate our watering schedule and provide a good drainage method.
The need for nutrients in fruit trees is present at all stages of growth.
The reason why apples drop may be due to a lack of some necessary elements. When dealing with apples, I would highly recommend applying fertilizers, which contain:
If you suspect that your tree is lacking one of these nutrients, then try to offer it a rich fertilizer with the mentioned elements. The use of fertilizer at this stage will allow compensation for the deficiency, and if you apply it on time, you may be able to save some of the remaining apples.
Note: Make sure to strictly follow the exact dosage indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Overfeeding your apple tree will make the pulp of the fruit too soft. The tree will start dropping unripe apples. If fruits with loose pulp are found, it is necessary to water the fruit crop with a solution of superphosphate as soon as possible.
To prepare it, you will need to dilute 50 g of the product in 15 liters of water with an area of 1 square meter.
Pests and Diseases
Damage to the roots or surface of the apple tree by harmful insects and pests causes crop failure. Insects gnaw the branches, damage the leaves and prevent the formation of new shoots.
Apple trees affected by moths suffer from fruit rot. This is often the reason why an apple tree drops its fruit before it is ripe. Therefore, it is very important to regularly examine the garden area.
If the fruits fall off, inspect the apples that have fallen to the ground. The discovery of wormy fruits indicates the defeat of the apple by a caterpillar. In this case, the tree is trying to get rid of the fruit.
In this case, you need to use a pesticide or an insecticide in order to get rid of any insect. Spray the whole tree. However, for future reference, I would recommend you take prevention methods before any kind of infestation occurs. This will save you time and energy, and most importantly, your crop.
Related article: Causes of Aphids and How to Treat & Prevent Them Naturally
For the development and fruiting of some types of apple trees, pollination of inflorescences is required. For this purpose, it is necessary to plant strong-smelling herbs or other types of trees that attract pollinating insects.
Another reason why apples drop prematurely may be because you did not prune your tree. Pruning is very important. Its best time is during winter or early spring as long as your tree is still dormant.
Acidic soils can also cause unripe fruits to drop. An apple tree planted in an area with acidic soil will not absorb nutrients well. The root system of a tree cannot take in enough nutrients from the soil. consequently, the baby apples will drop.
When planting an apple tree, it is necessary to take into account the physical and chemical properties of the soil. Fruit trees are able to tolerate slight soil acidity, but the plant does not fully develop on soils with a high acidity index. The calcareous seepage soil is also not suitable for this crop.
Premature defoliation disrupts the feeding process, weakens trees, slows down their growth, and negatively affects fruiting. Leaf drop can be caused by several factors such as diseases and insects. Leaves are another part that the tree needs in order to grow.
If your apple tree is suffering from leaf drop or has very few leaves, try to find the cause and treatment as it can be a reason why your fruits are dropping.
Related article: Why Are Jasmine Leaves Dropping & How to Treat It
Late frost return
Return frosts and sudden changes in weather negatively affect the growth of fruit trees. Frozen fruit and branches of apple trees lose their immunity, and as a result, apple dropping happens.
In this article, I mentioned the causes of sudden apples dropping prematurely. Apples are easy to take care of, and they do not require much attention. However, that does not mean we should not give them the proper care they need, which is very little and worth it.
When you care for an apple tree, it rewards you with great, delicious fruits. Additionally, you know what they say “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away“. Think of the many time your tree apple is going to save you from going to the doctor.
I hope this information was helpful 💕