How to Spray to Prevent Fruit Trees From Producing Fruit


High yielding fruit trees can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view. Some gardeners plant fruit trees and later decide that the fruit is undesirable because it attracts animals or because it can make lawn maintenance around the tree difficult. Luckily, there are sprays available that gardeners and landscapers can use to prevent fruit trees from producing fruit. Furthermore, these fruit-eliminating sprays are relatively easy to mix and apply.

Things You'll Need

  • Fruit-eliminating spray
  • Hand sprayer
  • Analyze the target tree (or trees) to decide how much and what type of fruit-eliminating spray you will need. Several varieties of sprays are available, usually in concentrated form. Concentrated sprays require you to mix a few ounces of the concentrate with a gallon of water in a hand sprayer. Other ready-to-use sprays are available as well. Note that mixing rates and concentrations can vary among spray varieties. In addition, the amount of spray may vary based on tree size so it is best to overestimate the amount you will need if you are unfamiliar with the process.

  • Schedule a day to spray. You will want to spray when the target tree is at the mid- to full-blooming stage of development. You will also want to pick a day without high wind speeds and/or high temperatures. Fruit-eliminating sprays generally work by producing an increase in ethylene, a plant hormone produced by the plant during stressful situations. The creation of this stress-induced hormone will inhibit fruit production but may also damage the tree if the spray is applied when the tree is in an already-stressed condition.

  • Mix the spray in your hand sprayer (if you are using a concentrate) according to the directions on the label. Make sure to follow directions carefully and note that certain trees may require a higher or lower concentration of the mix.

  • Spray the fruit tree with the solution. Make sure to cover the blossoms completely with the spray for best results. When spraying, your goal is to simply wet the foliage, and the blossoms. Do not spray to the point where the solution is not running off the foliage.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are treating a sensitive fruit tree, such as a Carob, use a lower concentration of spray solution to avoid harming the tree.
  • Most fruit-eliminating sprays, especially those that are hormone-based, suggest that they be applied when the temperature is between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fruit-eliminating sprays may cause some leaves to turn yellow and fall off the tree.
  • Concentration of the spray is vital to success. If the concentration is too low the spray may actually increase fruit production and if the concentration is too high you may damage the tree.

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  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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