Brown Blotches On Apples & No Tomatoes

Question:

We have an apple tree with three different varieties grafted on it. Each year two of the varieties develop a brown patch as if the fruit had been bruised. I also the ground under the tree is littered with small green apples. What is the problem?        

Answer:

  • With apple trees, fruit drop is a natural occurrence. It happens at the end of spring, and it’s called the ‘June Drop.’  The amount will vary from year to year depending on the size of the fruit set.
    • The ‘June Drop’ is Mother Nature’s method of thinning itself. You also manually thin the trees.
    • With the green and cooking types of apples, you thin the clusters down to three or four. With the yellow and red eating apples, one to two is recommended. Stripped apples can be done either way depending on their use.
  •  Also, those apple clusters at the end of a branch should be removed completely. This prevents the branches from curving from the weight exposing the apples in the center of the tree. These curved branches will never straighten out.
  • Thinning also redistributes the weight to prevent the limbs from breaking. Limb breakage is a concern in August and September.
  • The brown spots, blemishes, or bruising on the fruit is Sunburn.
    • You’ll find Sunburn damage on those maturing apples on the Southwest side of the tree. The apples at the end of the branches suffer the most damage, as the there is little protection from the heat. It’s also another reason for thinning.
    • It’s the foliage that provides shade, Mother Nature’s natural sunblock. Hence, it’s important to feed the trees in the spring to encourage the new growth and protect the crop.
    • The damaged apples from sunburn are still very edible, so I wouldn’t discard them.  

Question:

My tomato plants are blooming, but only one plant has any tomatoes. I’m just wondering what went wrong and should I pull up the unproductive plants. My brother who lives approximately a half mile from me has the same problem. He thinks it’s a pollination problem due to the lack of bees. 

answer:

  • The primary pollinator of tomatoes is not Honey Bees, but it is the wind. In those areas with poor air circulation, gently shaking the plant's midday is helpful in moving the pollen around.
  • That being said, I believe the weather has been the main reason for the lack of fruiting.
    • Tomatoes are a warm-season crop that likes like sunny days and nights. When the nighttime temperature is below fifty-five degrees with cool days, you get no tomatoes.
    • The weather wasn’t the greatest in April and May. The cherry varieties are producing, but the other types have suffered from the erratic weather pattern we have had this spring.
    • Tomatoes have different ripening times, so that may be a contributing factor. In many years, the harvest is the most plentiful, September through November. All that being said, it too late to start over so I wouldn’t remove any plants.