Several things may be at play for a breadfruit tree losing fruit, and many are natural factors that may be beyond your control. Read on to learn about a few of the most common reasons for breadfruit fruit drop.
Why are Breadfruits Falling off the Tree?
Growing a breadfruit tree can be frustrating if all your fruit is dropping off before you ever get a chance to enjoy it. Why does this happen? Here are the most common reasons:
Overbearing: It’s normal for a few breadfruits to drop prematurely. This is a self-thinning process – nature’s way of preventing a heavy fruit load that can prevent depletion of carbohydrates. Young trees tend to overbear before they have developed a system for storing food reserves. When this occurs, it becomes a “survival of the fittest” situation where weaker fruits are sacrificed by breadfruit fruit drop. Mature breadfruit trees usually develop the ability to store nutrients.
To avoid overbearing, thin developing breadfruit before the tree has a chance to drop them. Allow at least 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) between each fruit. You can also pinch off a few blossoms before fruit forms.
Poor pollination: Like most fruit trees, breadfruit fruit drop may be caused by poor pollination, often caused by honeybee decline or cold, damp weather. Planting breadfruit trees within 50 feet (15 m.) of one another can encourage cross-pollination. Also, never use pesticides while breadfruit trees are in bloom.
Drought: Breadfruit trees are relatively drought tolerant and can withstand dry conditions for a few months. However, extended dry periods are often a reason for a breadfruit tree dropping fruit. Be sure to give the tree ample water, especially during times of excessive drought-like conditions.
Too much weight on branches: In some cases, breadfruit trees drop fruit when the added weight of too much fruit causes stress to the branches. Dropping fruit prevents branch breakage, which can invite diseases and pests. Likewise, hard-to-reach fruit in the upper part of the tree is frequently subject to breadfruit fruit drop.
If your breadfruit tree is losing fruit, be sure to pick them up immediately. Otherwise, the fruit will soon rot and draw fruit flies and other pests.