Apple Trees – Losing Fruit Overnight

Q: I have a mature apple tree and most of the fruit recently dropped to the ground overnight. What caused this?

A: Early fruit drop in general is most often caused by poor pollination. When pollen doesn’t get to developing seeds they don’t release hormones which control the developing fruit. Without the seed hormones, the fruit naturally drops. If you cut a dropped apple in half and see no seeds, pollination is the problem. Many things can affect pollination. Wet, rainy, cool weather during bloom inhibits bee activity; windy, breezy conditions with temperatures above 95F also will affect honeybee activity. Frost can also damage the flower. Even ideal conditions can cause partial fruit drop, as the tree aborts excess fruit that it’s leaves can not support.