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  1. #1
    jrogerso is offline Germinator
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    Default Why would a Damson tree never flower?

    I have a Damson planted about 5 years ago. It has always looked healthy and has grown to about 12 feet high. There is no sign of any parasites on the leaves. However it has never flowered and consequently has never fruited. Has anyone any idea what might be wrong with it?

  2. #2
    sewer rat's Avatar
    sewer rat is offline Early Fruiter
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogerso View Post
    I have a Damson planted about 5 years ago. It has always looked healthy and has grown to about 12 feet high. There is no sign of any parasites on the leaves. However it has never flowered and consequently has never fruited. Has anyone any idea what might be wrong with it?
    No idea, but I have one that sounds the same. It was growing rapidly up the way so I had to cut it back the year before last- quite severely - and guess what - loaded with damsons last year !!
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  3. #3
    realfood is offline Rooter
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    Overfeeding of fruit trees makes lots of lush growth but little fruit. Treat them mean, make them keen!

  4. #4
    FB.'s Avatar
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    FB. is offline Early Fruiter
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    Yup.
    A tree that is happy will often grow and grow and grow......but won't bother to fruit.
    The logic is that the bigger the tree can grow, the more fruit it can produce when mature and the more it can try to outgrow its rivals and the more it can evetually spread its seed.
    Only when times come hard does the tree start to fruit - to ensure that it reproduces before it dies.

    The tree is too happy.
    Make life a bit harder for it - stop feeding nitrogen and stop watering (unless it wilts in a severe drought). Give it a very hard summer prune sometime soon - cut back all this years green shoots to just a couple of inches length.

    If still no fruit this time next year, then consider root pruning in addition to the above.

  5. #5
    jrogerso is offline Germinator
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    Default Thanks for the last posts.

    Well, I am taken aback I thought the consensus might be to feed it with some kind of magic potion. Actually it has never been fed or watered since it was planted 5 years or so ago. At that time I did put a healthy dollop of bone meal and some well rotted manure in the hole. I did this mainly because it was growing close to where another tree had been uprooted and I though the ground might be impoverished. Perhaps it is still reacting to that early dose of fertilizer. I will give it a hard summer prune and leave it a year and see what comes.

  6. #6
    FB.'s Avatar
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    I suspect that you have plenty of moisture in your soil, which plums/damsons/gages like.
    Is your soil also quite deep and fertile?

    Do you know which variety and rootstock you have?....or is it a seedling?

  7. #7
    jrogerso is offline Germinator
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    Thank you FB.
    I suspect there is reasonable ground moisture even in dry weather. Dry weather is rare in Preston, apart from this year which has been remarkably dry so far. There are other trees nearby which will tend to dry the ground out I guess. However, the tree does not look as if it is suffering at the moment and never has.
    The soil is generally dark and fertile and of varying thickness overlaying heavy clay. I think where the tree is planted there is at least 2 feet of soil.
    As for type, I have no idea but suspect it will be a very common variety as it came from Aldi. The label just said 'Damson' and gave no other type information. I have wondered if the label was wrong and I had been sold some other non flowering tree, but it is grafted and the leaves look just like Damson leaves on Google Images so I am prepared to believe it is a Damson as advertised.
    My thoughts range from...
    Is it possible it is just too young?
    Perhaps it is missing some vital trace element? This despite what I said about fertile soil.
    And, from the posts here from 'sewer_rat' and 'realfood', perhaps it is too happy and needs a bit of stress i.e. a hard prune in July?

  8. #8
    FB.'s Avatar
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    Nutrient deficiency isn't likely to be the cause - if the tree was deficient in nutrients, I'd expect stunted growth, discoloured leaves, or problems with disease.

    I'm fairly sure that the problem is that you have good soil and ample supplies of water.

    Apart from what has already been mentioned above (stop feeding and summer prune), you could put the tree under stress by growing something else underneath it to compete for the water and nutrients.
    Anything will do to compete with the tree - alpine strawberries are happy in part-shade under a tree (as long as there is water and nutrients - which you seem to have lots of) and alpines can make a useful addition to your summer fruits.

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