Fruit Trees Stop Producing & Growing Potatoes

Question:

Why would my fruit trees stop producing? They were productive, but not now.   

Answer:

  • Deciduous fruit trees, plums, cherries, peaches, and others, fail to bear fruit for the following reasons,  aggressive pruning during the winter months that remove the fruiting spurs and the spring bloom. The tree(s) must flower so pollination can occur, causing the fruit to set.
  • The chief pollinator of fruit trees is Honey Bees. There have been periods when damp, wet conditions during flowering grounded the bees, so the fruit set was very poor or none at all. This year the conditions were not adverse.
  • The next consideration is the overall health of the trees. Those trees that are struggling to produce poorly.
    • This is measured by the lack of or little new growth and dieback in the canopy. This decline occurs over a series of winter.
    • You might find that sections or branches don't break dormancy or die during the growing season.
    • The slope may be contributing to the problem as soil erosion during the winter months could be burying the trees. The soil will build up on the backside or the downward slope at the tree trunk(s).
      • You need to remove all the excess soil annually, down to the top of the first root, and then channel the water away from the crown or base of the tree(s).
      • You then mulch the area under the canopies. The frequency of the watering after the rainy season concludes it is the final consideration. Except for apples and pears, deciduous fruit trees are not watered more than twice a month.
    • The early stages of dormancy begin after Labor Day, so you stop watering altogether.
      • A large basin should be constructed each spring and then removed in the fall. They should be six to eight inches tall and extend from the trunk to beyond the canopies. With a slope, the front side of the basin will be much higher than the back. Wet winters and excessive summer watering leads to root rot that doesn't show up until the following year as dieback.
  •  Other reasons for fruit trees to fail to bear fruit but doesn't apply in your case are: the trees are too young. Trees started from a pit, frost during the blooming period, and varieties not suited for this area.

Question:

This is my first attempt at growing potatoes. How would I go about fertilizing them?  

Answer:

  • Potatoes don't require frequent fertilizing. Ideally, you should premix the fertilizer into the soil you're using to raise the soil level as the potatoes grow. I'd use a low nitrogen Vegetable Food as overfeeding will affect the yield.
  • I'm assuming you used store-bought potatoes. The yield will be unpredictable as they are treated with a chemical to prevent or inhibit the eyes from spouting. You get a better crop with seed potatoes. They're available online, and garden centers January through March. Potatoes are ready to harvest in about one hundred and eighty days.