Have you been unhappy with the number of apples on your backyard apple tree lately? If the tree is only producing a few apples — or even no apples at all — you don't have to just throw up your hands and accept it. Here are four ways to increase apple production on your backyard apple tree.
1. Plant a pollinating partner
Apple trees cannot typically be pollinated by their own pollen. They need another apple tree in the area to get pollen from. If there is an apple farm nearby or the neighbors have an apple tree, your apple tree may be getting some of its flowers pollinated, which is why you're only getting a few apples. If you plant another apple tree on your property, more of the flowers will get pollinated and you will get more apples.
2. Fertilize the tree
After several years, the soil around your apple tree may become depleted of nutrients, and the tree may no longer get what it needs to thrive. Applying good fertilizer can help. The best time of year to fertilize is very early in the spring when the tree is just beginning to bud and before any flowers appear. Apply a fertilizer specifically recommended for fruit trees, and make sure you spread out as wide as the tree's canopy since this is where the roots are located. You can fertilize the tree again four weeks later or so — when the fruit is just beginning to appear.
3. Water the tree
Watering the tree will also help increase the number of apples it produces. Start watering in the springtime, and water whenever there has not been any rain for a week or more. Apply the water to the entire area beneath the tree, and try not to get the trunk or branches wet.
4. Get the tree trimmed
Hire a tree care company to come in the late fall or very early spring and prune the tree. They should remove any branches that are broken, dead, or ailing. They should also thin out the healthy branches so those that remain get more sunlight. As a result, you will see more fruit on the branches that are left behind.
With the four tips above, your apple tree's fruit production should increase. Be patient — some trees may take a year or two to improve their production after you change things around.