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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fruit Tree Not Producing? Get Rid of It!

Q. I live in the Mesquite area and have two non-producing nectarines. One is a 7 year old LeGrand and the other a 4 year old Gold Mine nectarine. Both get plenty of flowers but no fruit. They are intermingled with plums, peaches, and apricots; all producers. Any idea what could be wrong?

A. First of all, thank you for keeping track of the variety of fruit trees you have. I cannot tell you how many times I have talked with people and they have no idea what variety of fruit tree they planted. Selecting the right variety makes a world of difference in the quality of the fruit you produce.

            I will tell you right now I have tried both of those varieties of nectarine and do not give them very high marks for flavor in our climate. I would get rid of them now and put in something better. I know Le Grand is an old time favorite in other parts of the country but there are better varieties out there.

            I also had one nectarine tree, unlike yours, that just would not flower for us. Lots of healthy growth, but no flowers. It wasn’t the variety because we had five of this tree and the other four did produce. I gave it a five year chance and then replaced it. It should have gotten just three years but I felt generous. Generally speaking, if your fruit tree does not produce after three years of flowering, or you get three years in a row of bad tasting fruit, REPLACE IT.

            If you want to stick with nectarines (this may turn into a regular spray program for thrips control down the road) then I would look very closely at Arctic Star, a white-fleshed nectarine or, for yellow-fleshed types, Desert Dawn, Desert Delight or Double Delight. We have given all of these very high marks in fruit quality and they are excellent producers.


  1. Please comment further on thrip control--we have an infected rose.

    Good Luck on your new assignment.

  2. Roses are frequently hit by thrips. Spinosad does a pretty good job of controlling thrips. There is a lenghty discussion on thrips of all kinds at UC IPM online. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7429.html

  3. I think intersteming a tree (graft onto the main branches a new variety(s) rather than discarding a ("assumed") good established root system makes more sense. Figure you get fruit production one to two years sooner than starting over.

    An exception may be a peach/nectarine tree that is going to die at 10-15 years (likelier 10) anyway. If it is only 4 years old it probably is worth it, 7 and you might as well replace it.

    On an inexplicably non-flowering tree, I would just remove it.