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There isn't much on this planet that is as majestic as a tree. And yet, even though they are so old, strong and yet easily hurt.

A neighbor of ours cut their apple tree back drastically, essentially forcing their tree into biannual bearing which means that it will only bare fruit every second year.

Biannual Bearing

Biannual bearing basically this means you've cut out to much energy from the tree last year so it's had to use all remaining energy to grow more branches to then reproduce fruit next year. Here is a good explaination on a UK site but the information is the same as here in the states.


You can prune it lightly in the off year to give your canopy structure and appropriate fruiting zones.

This might bring it back into balance without having to do some annoying pruning.

But be patient; it won't cause it to be a biennial. It might push it to skip a year. Trees are strong and most apple trees will likely respond reasonably well given the chance.

Give it a season to potentially recover before you decide to tear it out like our neighbors did this summer. If you pruned to hard it can be difficult to change a biannual tree back to normal.

For Consideration

  • How old is the tree?
  • How heavily did it flower this year vs last year?
    • If you've got no flowers that means no fruit.

  • Did you get an explosion of vegetative growth?
  • Have you had a look for fruit buds to count your fruiting potential?