Why Can't You Give Trees More Nutrition Instead Of Trimming Away Flowers?

A yearly task that fruit-tree owners face is having excess flowers trimmed away. This balances the ratio between available nutrition and water and the flowers left behind, allowing those flowers to turn into larger, healthier fruits. There's only so much nutrition that the tree has access to, and too many flowers makes for too much competition. Removing flowers allows the remaining blooms to get a larger share of the nutritional pie.

Yet all those flowers look great, and who wouldn't want more fruit during backyard-harvest time? If you've wondered why you can't simply increase the amount of fertilizer and water you give the tree so that you can keep all those flowers, there are three good reasons to start with.

Nutritional Traffic Jams

First, trees have access to only so much nutrition for two reasons. One is the amount available in the soil, as you have likely guessed. The other is that trees can take up only so much nutrition and water at once. It's like you trying to drink water or eat food; no matter how much you have access to, you can drink water only so fast, and eat only so much food per bite. No matter how much you put into the soil, the tree can take up only so much, leaving extra water behind that could flood the roots of the tree (effectively drowning them) or wash away soil and that extra nutrition.

A Lack of Literal Room to Grow

Second, fruit needs room to grow. If you have a branch laden with blossoms that are supposed to turn into apples, but those blossoms are all bunched together, you're going to get some small, strangely shaped apples. Removing blossoms gives each more room to turn into bigger, more shapely fruits.

Exposing More Leaves to Light

Another reason, for trees where the blossoms are big or grow in thick clusters, is that removing some of those blossoms opens up more paths for light to reach leaves that are behind where those flowers were. Too many blossoms means too little sunlight reaching a lot of inner branches and leaves (and in tree trimming, some of those branches may be removed, too, to increase airflow throughout the tree's canopy). The leaves are the trees' feeding powerhouse. The roots provide access to water and soil nutrients, but the leaves drive photosynthesis, which is essential for tree health. Less ability to photosynthesize means less ability to produce full nutrition for the tree.

So while you do have to provide adequate nutrition and water, you can't just go overboard and then neglect trimming. Removing those blossoms is an essential part of helping the tree produce healthy fruit. If you want a bountiful harvest, then you do need to have tree trimmers remove extra blossoms, even if that sounds counter-intuitive.

To learn more, reach out to a local tree service.