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Troubleshooting Current/Future Fruit Tree Issues


It seems like we made it to spring in Northern Illinois. Growth stages of the fruit trees like pear, peach, apple, and cherry have been moving fast and at this stage, small fruit should have developed on your trees. Both the cherry and peach tree at the Rockford office have started producing fruit. This week, a Fire Blight sample on pear was brought to the office, and I'm going to share both current/future fruit tree issues in Northern Illinois.

*********Keep in mind that these are broad suggestions for what you might be dealing with. Always get proper diagnosis (reach out to me! I'd love to hear from you)******************

Current Issues, late Spring:

No Fruit on Peach and Cherry?

  • Potentially your buds were killed. Temperatures below -9 F will usually result in buds unable to survive.
  • What to do: Hope for a milder winter next year.

Torched limb in "shepherd's hook" formation on Pear and/or Apple?

  • Potentially Fire Blight. Get this properly diagnosed.
  • What to do: Infection on new limbs can be pruned out 6 inches below infection line. Some fungicides available but usually need to be applied during dormancy.

Upcoming Issues, early summer:

Fruit Not Developing on Apples

  • Buds damaged or need more than one variety. We had a very late frost the end of April that could have caused some buds to be killed/damaged. If the trees have never produced apples, make sure you have more than one variety. Apples depend on cross-pollination.
  • What to do: Hope for a consistent spring temperatures but also plant another variety (or crabapple) that blooms at the same time.

A lot of apples last year, potentially less this year.

  • Biennial Fruiting. A fairly common occurrence where your tree has a lot of fruit in one year and then not as much next year.
  • What to do: Thin small fruit out (usually by hand, leaving 1 center apple/pear) and prune better next winter.
These are a couple things to look for. As your fruit begins to develop further, you may run into future problems. I'll share in weeks to come some other issues we hear about in the University of Illinois Extension office.
Grant McCarty