4 years ago we purchased a barn with an orchard. The apple and pear trees were heavy with fruit. The land around the trees was rotovated and then weed killer applied (not sure of weed killer type) each year. Since then the trees have leaves and blossom, and some fruit appear but they never grow bigger than a large walnut and often drop off. Branches have grown from the main parts of the tree at right angles to the old branch. I have been told this is because the tree is 'in distress.' Can you suggest the reason for the change and any possible solutions before we decide to chop them down?
Apple and Pear Trees
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Actually, it sounds like you have a pollination problem. It is getting more common now that honeybees are in peril. The trees will abort any fruit that come from flowers that are not properly pollinated. You need to take steps to attract pollinators to your yard. The branch growth is normal, but needs to be brought into check through pruning to keep the trees fruiting. Here is some information that may help you: