grapefruit in our garden, which has cropped well in past years,
has only a few tiny fruit this year. The tree is healthy, fed spring
and autumn and shows no sign of disease or stress. What can I do
to ensure it fruits well next year?
is a tricky one. There are a lot of things which, individually or
in combination, could cause this problem, but assuming the tree
flowered well in early summer I believe the most likely reason to
be summer drought causing premature fruit drop.
It sounds as if you're
feeding the tree sufficiently, but be careful not to ovedo it, as
too much fertiliser could aggravate the effects of water stress.
Try to make sure there's plenty of moisture in the soil throughout
summer - apply plenty of mulch in late winter or spring while the
soil is moist and water deeply once or twice a week if necessary.
If there's the risk
of exposure to strong wind during flowering (which could affect
pollination) and during the first stages of fruit formation, it
might pay to provide some sort of shelter, if practicable.
Gardener, Issue 155, 2004, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.