Messy Crab Apple
My flowering crabapple tree bears a lot of fruit. The birds love it, but it makes a mess of my sidewalk. Can I limit the amount of fruit it produces? —Esther Powanda, Peckville, Pennsylvania
Melinda: It is difficult to reduce or eliminate fruit production on crab apples and other fruiting plants. However, many of the newer cultivars have small, persistent fruit that help reduce the mess. And I like to create mulched beds under fruiting trees to improve the growing conditions and eliminate the need for cleanup. Unfortunately, though, these are not options for you.
You may want to try a chemical fruit eliminator. Effectiveness and successful fruit elimination by these plant hormone-based products depends on proper timing and complete coverage. Florel fruit eliminator by Monterey is such a product and is labeled for home gardeners to reduce or eliminate fruit. Check with your local garden center or purchase online. Remember, success depends on reading and following label directions.