Is There Something Wrong with This Apple Tree?

This is my first apple tree. This is the first fruit that it is growing. I don't know if it is one apple or many together? Any ideas?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Christine from Sanremo, Italy

Answer:

Christine,

Wow! What an interesting picture. A fruit grower or arborist can tell you for sure, but I'm going to take an educated guess as to what could be happening. Apple blossoms form in clusters of five (or on rare occasions, six). The first, and usually the largest bloom to open is called the king bloom. If all goes according to nature's plan, the king bloom sets fruit first, which suppresses the setting fruit of the other blossoms. If all five blooms set, you end up with 5 smaller fruits, the other four blooms are usually removed in order to avoid this. Perhaps in your case, all five blooms set fruit and for whatever reason (maybe exemplary growing conditions) they all received enough nutrients to grow a decent size. As they continued to grow, the cluster of apples then developed a distorted appearance for lack of having any elbow room. My guess is that this is the only cluster on the tree that looks like this.

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Still another possibility is that early in the fruit's development your area experienced a sudden short burst of chilly temperatures-maybe a slight frost. When this happens and the skin of the fruit is damaged, apples (and also pears) sometimes develop what is known as frost rings. This doesn't kill the blossom or the fruitlet, but it can cause tough callus-like patches on the skin that constrict and distort the fruit as it grows. In either case, the apples are still safe for consumption.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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September 17, 20060 found this helpful

Based on your photo, it looks like you have a pear tree. If you planted it yourself or had someone plant it and still have the tags or paperwork you could check its botanical name. If it is an apple it will be in the "Malus" family and if it is a pear it will be in the "Pyrus" family. I see though that your post is from Italy, you may have species growing in your climate that do not grow commonly here.

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September 19, 20060 found this helpful

Are you sure it is an APPLE Tree?

I thought it looked more like a pear tree, but even pear trees don' grow the fruit in clusters quite like that.

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September 20, 20060 found this helpful

I don't believe that it's a pear tree. Pears grow with the narrow end (stem end) attached to the tree. It looks as though the bud end is facing out. Apples do often grow in clusters like this, but these seem to be deformed. Are all the clusters like this, or is this the only one? Do you have an Extension Office at a University like we do here in the States? If not, see if you can e-mail the picture to one here in the US. They may be able to help you explain this.

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September 26, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, I asked my friend who is a nursery owner and this is what he said:

It may be poor pollination. Cut one open and see how many seeds there are. There should be about 10

Apples are self incompatible and must be cross pollinated. Pollination management is an important component of apple culture. Before planting, it is important to arrange for pollenizers - varieties of apple or crabapple that provide plentiful, viable and compatible pollen. Orchard blocks may alternate rows of compatible varieties, or may plant crabapple trees, or graft on limbs of crabapple. Some varieties produce very little pollen, or the pollen is sterile, so these are not good pollenizers. Good-quality nurseries have pollenizer compatibility lists.

Growers with old orchard blocks of single varieties sometimes provide bouquets of crabapple blossoms in drums or pails in the orchard for pollenizers. Home growers with a single tree and no other variety in the neighborhood can do the same on a smaller scale.

During the bloom each season, apple growers usually provide pollinators to carry the pollen. Honeybee hives are most commonly used, and arrangements may be made with a commercial beekeeper who supplies hives for a fee. Orchard mason bees are also used as supplemental pollinators in commercial orchards. Home growers may find these more acceptable in suburban locations because they do not sting. Some wild bees such as carpenter bees and other solitary bees may help. Bumble bee queens are sometimes present in orchards, but not usually in enough quantity to be significant pollinators.

Symptoms of inadequate pollination are small and mishapen apples, and slowness to ripen. The seeds can be counted to evaluate pollination. Well-pollinated apples are the best quality, and will have seven to ten seeds. Apples with fewer than three seeds will usually not mature and will drop from the trees in the early summer. Inadequate pollination can result from either a lack of pollinators or pollenizers, or from poor pollinating weather at bloom time. It generally requires multiple bee visits to deliver sufficient grains of pollen to accomplish complete pollination.

Hope this helps!

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September 28, 20060 found this helpful

It is definately an apple tree. Thank you for the valuable information. We will look into it directly.

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