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How To Get Fruit Trees To Blossom & Produce Fruit

What to Do To Get Fruit Trees to Blossom and Produce FruitLet me start off by saying hubby and I planted a fruit orchard about 5 years ago on our property and for the last 5 years I’ve had the trees staked, taken measures so the deer won’t eat them, pruned them, and fertilized them with stakes in the spring and fall faithfully.

That all sounds good, right? It seems like it’s about time for those trees to start rewarding me with some fruit, but I’ve never had a blossom. Nothing in the 5 years we’ve had them. I did do a little research, Google of course, and yep sure enough after 5 years the trees should be producing fruit, and blossoming long before that.

What to Do To Get Fruit Trees to Blossom and Produce FruitSo I said to my hubby if those trees don’t blossom this year I’m pulling them out, I don’t need the extra work. Now if I’d planted them for ornamental reasons that would be another story but I didn’t. My full intention for them was to produce pesticide free fruit for my family to eat. Hubby agreed with me that they would be cut down if nothing happened this year.

I was at Grama Reds house helping my cousin prune the apple trees on the farm, he’s a horticulturist, so I decided to pick his brain a little. I told him about my non-producing fruit trees and asked him if I should just give up and cut them down. Well you will never guess what he told me to do…..any guesses?

What to Do To Get Fruit Trees to Blossom and Produce FruitHe told me he had the same issue with a peach tree and was talking to an old farmer about it. The farmer said use a 2X4, on the wide side, and beat the tree about 20 times all the way around the base of the truck. Hit it hard but not hard enough to break the truck. Apparently the tree thinks it dying and goes into survival mode by shocking itself, and in turn it will blossom and produce fruit from here forward. He says you only need to do it once in it’s lifetime and the tree will start to produce.

What to Do To Get Fruit Trees to Blossom and Produce FruitWell who the heck ever came up with that idea I’ll never know but those old timers always seem to know what to do so I gave it a go. Luckily we have no neighbors to see me out beating my trees (I don’t want to get turned in for tree abuse, lol). I’m sure it was a sight, and looked quite foolish. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this works, if not the trees are going.

So tell me have you ever heard of this and if so have you tried it with success? I can’t wait to hear, and if you have another method that’s worked for you tell me about it in the comment section below, I’m always up for learning something new.

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53 Comments

  1. Cheryl Major says:

    We had planted apple trees at our other house about 20 years ago. They bloomed from the beginning and it was when they were about 3-5 years old that they started getting apples, not a lot mine you, just a couple on each tree. The only thing that I was ever told was to have more than one tree to attract bees to pollenate the blooms., and to make sure they were in a sunny location . But we found that they were slow growing and when we sold the house, the guy that bought the house cut all 7 trees down as he did not want to worry about them. We would plant some at this house but our land is too rocky and we are surrounded by bush with very little sunny locations.

    1. Cheryl I have the recommended amount of trees for cross pollination but we had a really hard winter the first year we put them in and my cousin thinks that’s what set them back into a dormant stage and they can’t seem to come out of it. IF notihng happnes this spring they are going for sure.

      1. Charles T says:

        Did they produce fruit after the beating?

        1. Charles, yes it did and it seemed to get all the trees back on track. I had apples, pears, and peaches this year to prove it!

  2. Wow…what an interesting piece of advice!…but you know those old farmers know…..so I hope you get some great fruit this year!!! I wonder if I beat my hydrangeas, they will bloom?…..but I think my neighbors will wonder why I am out there beating this poor bush with a broom!!!

    1. Shirley ha ha, I say if it isn’t blooming go for it and who cares what the neighbor thinks but he may turn you into the HOA!!

  3. I have never heard of beating an apple tree, but hey if the old timer said to do it, he is probably speaking from experience. We planted apple and pear trees 3 years ago…got 7 apples from one of them last year and I was soooo excited. Good luck.

    1. Lori you are so lucky I hope this method works! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. I have also been told by a male working at a nursery to do the same thing for lilacs and hydrangeas. He said to use a garden hose.

    1. Debbie the garden hose makes sense on those type of plants. Thanks for the tip and glad you’ve heard of it too:)

  5. Lol.. Mental picture of you hitting the tree. Hope it works. I’ve had a pear tree for about 16 or more years and it took years to produce. It was a dwarf self pollinating tree. . It’s not very small though. Last year I finally canned some pears and we make a alot of zucchini pear bread. I don’t think I could handle 5 or more trees.lol. We also have a garden and we can the veggies. I sure hope it works for you Dawn. Keep us posted.

    1. Melissa, Im sure I was quite a sight. I’ve never heard of zucchini pear bread, do you mind sharing the recipe?

    2. Dawn, I sent it in your email.

      1. Melissa, thank you so much I can’t wait to give it a try 🙂

  6. Oh my gosh, Dawn! I’m getting a mental picture of you beating your trees!!! But the ole’ timers know a whole lot more than we give them credit for knowing, that’s for sure! It will be so interesting to see what happens as a result. We planted two plum trees shortly after moving here and they have blossomed and produced fruit each year since. We do have one peach tree that blooms and produces fruit but it hardens quickly and falls off the tree. Not sure what’s up with that but I probably need to consult with some local growers to get some advice.

    1. Jane I was hoping Leo had heard of this method. I think our main problem was we planted then had an ice storm in the spring. My cousin says that send them into a dormant type stage and it keeps up for life if they’re not shocked. We’ll see, if it ever stops snowing here long enough for them to bloom.

  7. Christine says:

    What time of the year do you hit the tree base?

    1. Christine before they leaf out and it’s still cold so here in Michigan we do it in March, after the snow has gone but the tree is still dormant. Also the same time you would trim a fruit tree.

  8. Well – never head of that one! Interesting! We have a few apple trees and have spent oodles of money on them for organic sprays, fertilizers, etc. and did faithful sprayings at recommended times as well as hanging weird mixtures in gallon jugs to catch bugs. Did all the stuff on the internet to avoid chemicals and all we ever got for our efforts were lots of wormy apples. Much cheaper to go to the local orchard and pick a few bushel of perfectly huge apples. So we gave up.

    1. Arlene Im ready to give up if we don’t see any blossoms this year. What a pain to do all that work and not get anything in return.

  9. I had actually heard of this before. My grandmother told me she used to beat her fruit tree trunks with a broom! I thought it strange but my hubby actually beats ours every year….just in case!

    1. Sue I love the old timer ways they have so much great knowledge, and I’m always thankful when they share it.

  10. When we looked for land to build our house I prayed for land with fruit trees. Not an easy find, but God provided. We have about 30 apple trees and 4 pear trees. I not only made apple sauce, pie, cobbler, apple butter & fruit leathers, but this year I made Apple Juice and and Apple Cider. I’m in love! But I may try this method on a peach tree I planted that won’t blossom. Thanks for the info

    1. Roni all your apple things sound wonderful and yummy. I couldn’t believe that beating a tree would actually work but it did and we had fruit this year.

      1. OMGosh. Really. Lol. Ok I’m gonna try it.

  11. Sonia diaz says:

    When we moved in to our new house, we wanted to plant apple tree. When we went to the nursery, we end up bringing home 2 apple trees. The person we have talked to from the nursery said that if you plant apple , plant 2 so they can pulinate each other. sure enough after 2 years they both produce apples. The only thing though, not every year they bloom a lot only every other year. But we are still happy for 20 years pisticide free apples and our friend are happy with it too. Good luck .

    1. Sonia Aw I bet you so enjoy your trees and the fresh fruit. We don’t use chemicals on ours either, we keep them organic.

  12. My uncle did that to a lime tree and it started fruiting after about 6 years.
    I’ve been thinking of doing the same to my Apple, pear, cherry and plum trees but thought I’d look like a crazy person beating my trees.
    Since I’m hearing this from other people besides my uncle, I will try it.
    Thank you!

    1. Fiza I’m sure I looked like a crazy lady but luckily I live in the country with no neighbors. LOL. Give it a try it works.

  13. Christine says:

    I had a lime tree for 17 years and it never bloomed or had fruit- I kept it because it was small and pretty with the glossy beright green leaves. I learned just how massive the need for nutrition in our poor soil and after feeding it adequately for one year it has produced heavily ever since ! I hope you find a solution, sounds like a part of you went into your orchard!

    1. Christine, I did find a way for the trees to fruit and have been using the method every year. It works great 🙂

  14. Le Kellum says:

    I had a golden delicious apple tree that had not had many apples on it and I heard about beating it with a ball bat. I tried it and every year after that it had so many apples I had to support the branches or they would break from the load of apples. It really does work!’

    1. Le, Im glad it worked for you too. Such an odd thing to do but if it works I’m going to continue doing it.

  15. I have heard from several people to graft the tree from a fruit bearing one, then it will bear fruit.

    1. Irene, I don’t think I have the skill for that but beating it worked, so that’s my new way of doing it.

  16. sulphate of potash is lacking in many soils and is usually necessary to promote good flowering and fruiting.
    As a trace element it’s fine to use as an extra help.

  17. Yes it does work I suppose – you can try to tie a wire really hard around the tree bark – that is another way and it will start to blossom and gives you fruits but remember to take the wire out after noticing results

    1. Lully I’ve never heard of that. I’m assuming it works just like beating the tree. The tree thinks it’s dying off and works to establish itself. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  18. erika wilson says:

    i love this idea. i have 3 apple trees that i planted 3 years ago, without any blossoms or fruit yet, so you can bet that i’ll be out there in a couple months and give my trees a good beating! ha ha

    1. Erika, go for it. It worked for me like a charm. The neighbors may think you’re crazy, but who cares if you get fruit 🙂

      1. erika wilson says:

        my thoughts exactly, Dawn ……lol

  19. Elizabeth says:

    It’s well known in San Antonio to beat your fig with a bat to get fruit. My husband hit ours, per advice, and now it’s huge and productive. Yes, you feel foolish. Whatever…

    1. Elizabeth does your husband have to beat the tree every year?

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Nope, only did it once. That was all it took. How crazy is that?

  20. Had a Rose of Sharon tree that stopped flowering. Uncle told me to hit it several times with the lawn mower and it worked. Going to try the 2×4 on the 6 yr old orchard though.

    1. Sandy, it will work for sure. I’m not sure what state you live in but you should do it next month to see fruit.

  21. probably discovered the beating trick back in the day because like you they got frustrated and just started beating the crap out of their trees for not producing haha and then discovered omgosh that worked!! HAHA! I have 2 apple trees I planted 4 years ago. it produced nothing the first year after we planted then one tree got a few apples on year 2 and year 3 (last year) they both got a few apples our honeycrisp got a bunch of apples and we had a wind storm that blew most of my itty bitty apples off the tree i was so upset! We got 2 apples out of our other tree a golden delicious and let me tell you plucked right off the tree they were delicious we were sad there was only 2!! haha! maybe next year ill beat my trees and i’ll get more

  22. Just curious, what season do you beat your tree?

    Thanks!!

    1. Shannon before they bloom so here in Michigan I do it early March.

  23. My dad often told his story of the cherry tree they had (in Indiana). It was old, but it had never produced any fruit. His dad told him if it didn’t produce any fruit one particular year, he was going to get rid of it. My dad went out and pounded several nails near the base of the tree. Sure enough, the next year it produced a bumper crop. My dad it said it produced so many cherries that it “over-produced” and couldn’t handle it, and that it died the following year. But that ONE year, they had an amazing crop. I never asked him before he died what time of the year to do it, so I’ve often wondered when it should be done. I have several fruit trees on my property that have produced a dismal amount of fruit over the past decade. So, I’ve want to try it and just figured I wouldn’t beat it quite as bad as my dad did. I was glad to read in the comments section that it worked for you, AND that it should be done in early spring. That’s probably late January or early February for me here in Northwest Florida. I don’t need “scientific studies” to prove or disprove something works. I just need personal testimonies from people, and you have provided that. So, for that I say thank you.

    1. Bob, I live in Michigan so it’s similar to Indiana weather. I beat my trees when they’re still dormant and just about ready to start getting leafs. I will do it again in March here, but I’m not sure about Florida. I’ve heard when you beat the tree it thinks it’s dying and uses all it’s energy to produce and thrive….hence the fruit. I did an experiment and didn’t beat my trees last year, and guess what? no fruit. I’m going back to giving them a beating again this year! I enjoyed reading your story about the cherry tree. I did the same threatened to cut mine all down if they don’t produce this year.

  24. John Kemp says:

    I live in England. Your article reminded me of a very old saying:

    “A woman, a dog and a walnut tree,
    The more you beat em,
    The better they be!”

    Fruit trees as well apparently!

    (With apologies to ladies and dogs)

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