apricot & cherry trees #130928 - Ask Extension

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apricot & cherry trees #130928

Asked May 30, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT

I live in Tracy Calif. and have a apricot tree in my front yard which produced apricots last year, but this year so far I have only noticed one apricot has produced, is this normal? should I have pruned the tree?
I also have 2 cherry trees in my back yard one on the side of house the other is directly in back yard of house, one (side of house) only produced maybe 4 cherries and the other had a tree full, could it be the one on the side of the house doesn't get much sun?  also noticed this one also has very holey leafs, does this mean they are infested with something?

San Joaquin County California

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Karla Kean Replied June 05, 2013, 3:26 PM EDT
Two things that come to mind that result in apricots not fruiting are freeze damage or lack of pollination.  Apricots are one of the first to bloom in the spring and often get nipped by late spring freezes.  Throughout much of the country, cooler weather persisted later than normal and in many cases received those late freezes that killed the fruit buds. 

Fruit trees are largely pollinated by insects, especially bees.  Low bee populations, sometimes caused by bad weather or the misuse of pesticides at the time of blooming could affect pollination.

One other possibility, but I would suspect the former two possibilities first, is the tree had such a heavy load and used up so much energy last year, it didn't have enough energy stored up to produce many this year.  We see these cycles in years where there is a bumper crop and the trees were not thinned followed by a year or two with much fewer fruit until the trees can build their reserves and energy back up again.

The cherry tree that is not producing may be in a similar situation as the apricot.  There are also many diseases and insects that attack fruit trees and this may be what is causing holes in the leaves.  You should be sure to identify a specific pest causing the damage before spraying with any pesticides.  Scouting on a regular basis for several days may be needed to determine if an insect is present.  Samples can also be taken to your extension service if you have one or a local garden center to help you identify the problem.
David Hillock Replied June 05, 2013, 5:17 PM EDT

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