Fruit Tree Problems: Trees Do Not Bear Fruit


When fruit trees fail to bear fruit that you are excited to harvest, the disappointment is usually followed with confusion. The reason your tree did not develop any fruit may be due to a normal cyclical cause or might be a symptom of an underlying problem. Identify the many issues that arise in fruit tree cultivation for an error-proof method of diagnosis.


Time is a significant aspect in fruit-bearing trees. Some trees are biennial fruit bearers, which means your tree may produce an abundant fruit supply one year, but the next year, will bear a very limited to non-existent yield. According to the Washington State University Extension, fruit will reappear during the following season. Additionally, trees bear fruit after they reach a certain age, so your tree may need a little more time. Fruit bearing ages vary from tree to tree. For example, apple trees begin bearing fruit two to five years after they are planted, while sweet cherry trees produce fruit four to seven years after they are planted.

Proper Care

Fruit trees sometimes fail to bear fruit because they are in decline or are just not healthy enough, according to the Washington State University Extension. Each tree requires a particular care regimen, such as proper irrigation and appropriate pruning. On a very basic level, most fruit trees thrive in full sunlight and need that energy for fruit production. Heavily shaded conditions may inhibit fruit growth. Grow your fruit trees in their ideal soil; pay attention to soil type, necessary drainage and preferred pH level for healthy growth.

Cold Injury

Many fruit trees are highly susceptible to damage in freezing temperatures. Low temperatures can kill a tree's fruit buds while the tree is dormant. For blooming trees, buds are highly susceptible to frost damage as they bloom; temperatures that dip below 27 degrees Fahrenheit mean certain death for open blossoms, according to the Washington State University Extension. When possible, cover your fruit tree with a lightweight material such as a sheet for protection to protect it from frost damage. Overhead spraying with water protects buds on tall fruit trees that you can't reach to cover.

Pests and Disease

Fruit trees are susceptible to a vast array of pest and disease problems. Pests feed on trees and diseases kill plant tissue. If a pest infestation is present or a disease infects your tree, the overall health of your tree will likely become greatly diminished if left untreated. Trees in decline often fail to bear fruit, according to the Washington State University Extension. To avoid this problem, research your fruit trees in regard to your particular planting region; familiarize yourself with common pests and diseases as well as necessary preventive treatments.


A problem with pollination is one of the most common reasons a tree fails to bear fruit, according to the Penn State Department of Horticulture. Though your tree may produce the normal amount of flowers, you still may not see any fruit. Certain trees self-pollinate, but the majority, referred to as "self-unfruitful" need to be pollinated by pollen carrying insects or from nearby trees, according to the Washington State University Extension. Poor weather conditions may inhibit insect activity. For successful pollination of apple, pear, plum, sweet cherry and other fruit trees, plant two or more varieties in close proximity.

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About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.