How to Stop Trees From Bearing Fruit


Although some people would say that the point of having a fruit tree is so that it will bear fruit, anyone who has ever had to deal with an ornamental crabapple or Bradford pear tree that bears fruit would disagree. Fruit such as this is either inedible or unappetizing. Once the fruit falls to the ground, it can rot and attract bugs, birds and even bears. One solution is to prevent fruit from flowering, so that fruit cannot develop on the tree.

Organic Methods

Step 1

Prune your trees after the trees begin to bud. Many trees set buds on the previous year's growth. Pruning the tree after it has begun to bud will remove the buds and force the tree to put energy into producing new growth rather than budding.

Step 2

Pick the buds off your tree by hand to eliminate the flowers from the tree and prevent them from producing fruit. If hand-picking buds is too time-consuming, spray the tree with a high-pressure sprayer to knock blossoms from the tree.

Step 3

Fertilize a tree with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen encourage plants to put energy into foliage production at the expense of producing blossoms.

Chemical Methods

Step 1

Pull on protective clothing, gloves and a breathing mask before using chemicals.

Step 2

Treat trees with a growth regulating hormone that contains ethephon to prevent trees from producing buds.

Step 3

Spray trees with the pesticide Sevin after the blossoms have faded on a fruit tree. Sevin is a powerful pesticide that can cause fruit to wither on a tree before it can begin to grow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear a hard hat and protective eyewear when trimming tree branches over your head.

Things You'll Need

  • Hard hat
  • Gardening gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Breathing mask
  • Pruning saw
  • Branch loppers
  • Gardening shears
  • High pressure sprayer
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer
  • Plant growth regulator containing ethephon


  • Cornell University Website: Ethephon
  • Iowa State University Extension Office Website: Prevention of Undesirable Fruit
  • Kansas State University Website: Fruit

Who Can Help

  • UBC Botanical Garden Website: Can you prevent fruit from forming ?
  • University of Rhode Island Website: Why Fruit Trees Fail to Bear
  • Cass County Extension Office Website: Fruit Tree Culture and Care
Keywords: bradford pear, crabapple tree, problems with fruit trees

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.