Question(s) of the Week 2: April 13, 2017

I was covered up this past weekend with questions on my radio program: Callers wondered why their fruit and pecan trees didn’t bloom or produce fruit. Four in a row, all with different answers. I decided to put them all here for you.

1. “Neil, my pear tree only had two blooms. Why would that happen?” Larry in College Station.

My answer: Larry mentioned how few chilling hours (32F – 45F) College Station had this past winter. My best guess was that whatever variety he had (he didn’t know) didn’t get enough cold weather for it to bloom properly. Next year hopefully will be better. This was a problem for many peach varieties in Texas as well. The one January cold spell was quite cold, but the rest of the winter was very warm.

Photos: Popular fruiting variety ‘Wonderful’ on left produces semi-double flowers. Compare petal count with the showier ‘Pleniflora’ on right.

Photos: Popular fruiting variety ‘Wonderful’ on left produces semi-double flowers. Compare petal count with the showier ‘Pleniflora’ on right.


2. “Neil, my pomegranate blooms beautifully, but I get absolutely no fruit? Why would that happen?” Charlene in San Angelo.

My answer: I started by asking Charlene to describe her pomegranate’s flowers. She replied, “Bright orange with lots of petals, like a big peony.” I told her I suspected she has an ornamental pomegranate (perhaps the variety ‘Pleniflora’), selected and propagated because it has much showier flowers and more of them. When I was a youngster growing up in College Station, TAMU had scores of that same variety on campus. I watched them for several years and even “borrowed” a few cuttings to grow in our own yard.


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3. “Neil, my pecan tree is two years old and 18 feet tall. It is not producing pecans. Why?” Jackie in Leveland.

My answer: He told me the tree was 9 feet tall when he planted it. I told Jackie that was a very large tree that probably should have been cut back by half at the time of planting. However, the big issue is that pecans don’t bear fruit as young as other fruit crops. It’s normal not to have much of a harvest for 5 to 7 years.

4. “Neil, I don’t get any apples, even though my tree blooms. Do I need a second variety?” Robert in Lubbock.

My answer: Robert pretty well provided his own answer. He probably needs a second variety that blooms at the same time. For whatever the reason, some types of fruit crops reject pollen from the same variety. Some people make the additional mistake of planting two trees of the same variety. That gains them nothing. You’ll never go wrong planting a second variety of any fruit crop within bee-flying distance (as long as both varieties bloom at the same time).

Posted by Neil Sperry
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