Q Why didn't my fruit tree flower?
Some varieties, such as 'Bramley' apples, are prone to becoming biennial bearers. In the years when they crop they tend to produce lots of small fruit, unless the crop is thinned early on. Frost at blossom time is a common reason for biennial bearing to start as it kills the blossom, meaning the tree produces little, if any, fruit that year. It then overcompensates by producing huge amounts of blossom the following year.
Dry conditions and hungry soil can also result in blossom failure.
Caption: Blossom can be thinned to avoid biennial bearing
Q How can I encourage my fruit trees to flower?
A Look for fruit buds in early spring (round and plump, compared with growth buds which are pointed and slender) and remove about half of them to leave one or two per spur. Alternatively, wait until the flowers open and cut off half of them instead. Both of these methods will stop the tree producing an excessive crop and help it to return to a normal fruiting pattern.
If your tree is small enough, cover it with fleece if frost is forecast when it has blossom.
Caption: If your tree is small enough, cover it with fleece to protect the blossom
It's also worth giving your fruit tree some TLC by removing any grass from around the base so it’s not competing for water. Mulch the bare earth and, in dry weather, give the tree a thorough soak.
Feed the tree in early spring with Growmore or Vitax Q4.