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i ahve an old bramley too.. teh last few years have been up and down.. one year only one apple on it.. last year not to bad.. weather effects them i think.. not enough rain and they drop fruit.
My employer has an old, old Bramley which has produced tons of gorgeous apples over the years...however....this year the blossom is almost finished, what is left has gone brown and if the teeny, tiny apples left behind are touched they promptly fall off. Our ancient gardener prounounced "water starvation" despite the fact that we've had torrential rain over the past several weeks and the ground was waterlogged. Admittedly we live in West Sussex which is still officially in drought, but we've always had an amazing crop.
We're wondering if this could be a ollination problem.....there haven't been the usual high number of bees lately.
Do any of you apple growers out there have any suggestions? All advice gratefully received.
I suspect pollinator shortlage too - our eating and crab apples had the best blossom everr this year, but it was cold so there were no pollinators about. If I were a bee I would have stayed in my hive as well at that time - we will just have to hope there were some hardy things about to do the job. The crab apple looks particularly sad as the blossom is over, and the usual myriad of tiny weeny apples don't seem to be there.
I did a bit of hand pollinating a week or two ago in hopes of getting some fruit. Luckily the trees are still in full flower and I'm hoping that the last couple of days of sunshine will have allowed for some natural pollination too.