fruit trees not fruiting?
Has this happened to you? Fruit trees with no fruit?! We had a recent customer with this problem, despite him taking loving care of his fruit trees. That is not only disappointing, but it's also telling us that something was not in balance. Here is another example of how we affect the bees and how the bees are essential to our gardens and our existence. Are YOU going to move the pollen from flower to flower?
Our client wanted me to come visit his fruit tree garden because he was concerned he had no flowers or fruit on his fruit trees and he didn't usually see bees around his floriferous garden. He was on the right track noticing there weren't any bees in his yard. It was also strange that his fruit trees had the healthiest leaves I've even seen, not a brown or yellow spot, full and green, and lush.
So I started asking him what he fertilizes with and what kind of chemicals he sprays them with. He showed me 5 different fertilizers that he applies to his trees! Many of them were the ubiquitous Miracle-gro, which is best left, if at all, to the annuals. Most of them were formulated for lush leaf growth and very heavy in nitrogen (the first number on the bottle). This doesn't work for plants you want to make flowers and fruit, but explains his beautiful leaves. Fruit trees want an application of lower nitrogen, balanced, ideally organic fertilizer. Something that is formulated for fruiting crops. So that would be heavier on the phosphorus and potassium (the last two numbers on the box). He also was applying the fertilizer way more often than even the bottle recommended. Too much fertilizer can't all be taken up by the plant and just gets flushed out into waterways. Without going into too much detail, making the soil healthy will maintain a happier fruit tree, it will be able to uptake the nutrients that are there or that you apply.
Then he showed me the insecticides he used on the trees. After looking them over and reading all the warning labels about they can harm vertebrates such as frogs, I asked do you want to eat fruit that has this absorbed into it? He hadn't really thought about it. Second, the insectides were to kill off caterpillars and other bugs that chewed into fruit trees leaves, but it also said right on the bottle, that is was toxic to bees. So many of the insecticides are not specific and will kill anything feeding on the plant or even collecting its pollen. So do we really wonder why the bees are collapsing? If this man thought all these things were okay to apply to his garden, how many times over is it happening all over the world? Time to think about your little corner or the planet and what you can do for our bee friends.