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 biennial apple problem - can you "re-set" the bearing year? 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:33 pm
Posts: 2
Post biennial apple problem - can you "re-set" the bearing year?
We have 8 biennial apples that all bear on the same year and then have no fruit on alternate years.
I would very much like to change about half of the trees to bear in the alternate year.
Can I do this by thinning all the blooms/apple-lets off of a tree on it's "on" year to encourage it to bear instead on the "off" year? (sort of "re-set" the clock for the tree?).
Thank you in advance for anything you can add to help with this!


Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:00 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: biennial apple problem - can you "re-set" the bearing ye
Hi Avella, welcome :P - and great question. Most people, commercial orchardists included, do not want the heavy bearing at all … fruit are small, limbs break, inconsistent ripening, disease spreads… So what you’d likely want (short of more varieties) is to regulate their bearing.

I’ve dealt with a massive full-sized Gravenstein apple tree that’s a bigtime biennial bearror, too. I’ve not gotten into snipping blossoms … and forget the details.. but heavy thinning fairly early in apple development seems to reset their hormonal balance and regulate bearing. Not that I get this accomplished every year… but it has worked over the 3 decades I’ve tended this tree.

Hopefully someone can give you more details as to the biological facts and the best timeframe for thinning, but I recommend you go for balance in overall production as opposed to ‘alternate bearing’ of individual trees.

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Temperate Orchard Convservancy: http://www.temperateorchardconservancy.org/index.php


Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:39 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: biennial apple problem - can you "re-set" the bearing ye
As Ted Swensen used to say, in a heavy bearing year, wipe out the fruitlets within 30 days of peak bloom. In a light bearing year, prune.
John S
PDX OR


Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:16 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:33 pm
Posts: 2
Post Re: biennial apple problem - can you "re-set" the bearing ye
Thank you very much for your help with this!
- Avella


Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:59 pm
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