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How to Stop Trees From Bearing Fruit

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.


Things You Will 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


  • Some varieties of fruit trees, such as many species of apple, plum and pear trees, cannot self-pollinate. If you plant only one apple tree, it may produce buds, but no fruit.


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

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.