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Interesting, thanks. In 15 years, we never had a problem. Let's see what happens next year.
Another sign to have noted is if the tree carried a normal blossom load but the set fruitlets fell in June. This is what we call in UK, June drop which is usually weather induced. The trees however do retain a small number of fruits which will mature correctly. A 15 years old tree could have cropped well even heavily until this year and now needs to regain it's strength. There are other issues which could together create the loss of cropping. Do you feed the tree?
 

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Another sign to have noted is if the tree carried a normal blossom load but the set fruitlets fell in June. This is what we call in UK, June drop which is usually weather induced. The trees however do retain a small number of fruits which will mature correctly. A 15 years old tree could have cropped well even heavily until this year and now needs to regain it's strength. There are other issues which could together create the loss of cropping. Do you feed the tree?
No. We just leave the tree be.

We were wondering if two very dry years (2019 & 2020) in Belgium may have affected it.
 

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No. We just leave the tree be.

We were wondering if two very dry years (2019 & 2020) in Belgium may have affected it.
Did you have a high number of apples which given the dry conditions would have been small?

Another issue has occured to me, has there been any waterlogging during the last winter and spring. If so have leaves prematurely fallen this autumn?
 

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The other issue which may be occuring, and there are several factors to consider. Soil type, after prolonged dry spells there could be shrinkage,especially on heavy(clay) soils, this can and often does depending on site exposure ( i.e wind prone) lead to wind rock, that creates a small gap between the soil and tree base. Rain following then pools in and around the tree base and a disease called phytophoria emerges. This disease attacks the roots and progressively kills the tree over a period of time. Premature leaf fall, heavy rainfall, soil type are all factors that create ideal conditions for this disease. There is NO cure/treatment only removal of affected trees and not planting any tree for at least 2 years.

Hope it is not phytophoria. At distance and not seeing the tree am just pointing out all the possibilities that have happened this year. Hopefully next spring will provide the happy outcome you wish.

Sorry for the technical if worrying detail.
 

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We have 4 trees in a row. A "kwestrasse" (an old Belgian variety), the Cox, a James Greave and one other whose name escapes me (think it had "duke" and "Normandy" in it?).

Anyway, one half of the garden gets wet due to an underground spring over that side (according to an old neighbour). The kwestrasse and the Cox trees are on the dry side of the garden. We had all four trees pruned back a couple of years ago. The two on the wet side have bloomed but the first two haven't grown back much.
 

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We should have a reasonable mix of fruit but this year was a disaster.

Cherries and plums = 0. Not even any fruit for the birds to get to first.
Figs = 4 all the others were rock hard until they dropped.
Apples = 1 which the dog found as a windfall and promptly ate.
Blackberries= 1 small picking but gathered from several plants.

On the plus side we did pass a pavement walnut tree which gave us 50 windfall nuts.
Ah well maybe better luck next year.
 

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We have 4 trees in a row. A "kwestrasse" (an old Belgian variety), the Cox, a James Greave and one other whose name escapes me (think it had "duke" and "Normandy" in it?).

Anyway, one half of the garden gets wet due to an underground spring over that side (according to an old neighbour). The kwestrasse and the Cox trees are on the dry side of the garden. We had all four trees pruned back a couple of years ago. The two on the wet side have bloomed but the first two haven't grown back much.
Interesting you have a spring which is beneficial and could also be a problem. Depends on soil type which effects natural drainage and moisture retention, and of course what artificial drainage exists, i.e ditch and or underground drains. There are so many factors to consider that may or not be affecting the tree. You have 4 different varieties, have they all reacted the same this year? This may give a clue as to whether or not it is down to just the weather.
If phytophoria is the problem apart from exposing the roots ( which could damge the tree) another symptom to watch out for is bark peeling. This is more pronounced in younger trees which can submit to the disease quickly. Older trees will display the symptoms as the disease progresses, usually over 2-3 years, oftend whole limbs will just die. Peeling of bark is a classic sypmtom to look at.
There are literally over 2000 varieties of apple, more than 800 in Normandy alone. Many are very rare,almost extinct. I am not familiar with a variety called "Duke Normandy". I will continue to research from my extensive records.

Seems to me the best course of actio, because of the many factors at play, best to see what happens next spring.

You have mentioned pruning being carried out, was it done professionaly or by a friend? If pruning is done incorrectly bacteria can enter the tree and course disease problems. This is usually noticeable at and around the pruning points.
 

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Net net - this was a horrible year in France for many crops - from the vineyards to apples and walnuts (though at least our walnut tree seems to produce only every other year anyhow and this was an off year). Cherries got hit by the late cold snap right after they had started to bloom. Oddly enough, there are quite a few apples still hanging onto our Granny Smith apple tree - but they're all rather spotted and motley looking. Doesn't stop our donkey from standing around under the tree, waiting for an apple or two to fall right in front of him. The other tree (something with red apples - no idea what variety) had only a few apples this year. And the "volunteer" apple trees in the donkey yard which normally produce rather small apples anyhow, didn't produce much of anything this year (much to the donkeys' chagrin). Blackberries were spotty producers - both the cultivated variety and the wild ones (which grow as weeds). Even the asparagus harvest started pretty late (due to the cold weather) and was considerably less than previous years.
 

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Interesting you have a spring which is beneficial and could also be a problem. Depends on soil type which effects natural drainage and moisture retention, and of course what artificial drainage exists, i.e ditch and or underground drains. There are so many factors to consider that may or not be affecting the tree. You have 4 different varieties, have they all reacted the same this year? This may give a clue as to whether or not it is down to just the weather.
If phytophoria is the problem apart from exposing the roots ( which could damge the tree) another symptom to watch out for is bark peeling. This is more pronounced in younger trees which can submit to the disease quickly. Older trees will display the symptoms as the disease progresses, usually over 2-3 years, oftend whole limbs will just die. Peeling of bark is a classic sypmtom to look at.
There are literally over 2000 varieties of apple, more than 800 in Normandy alone. Many are very rare,almost extinct. I am not familiar with a variety called "Duke Normandy". I will continue to research from my extensive records.

Seems to me the best course of actio, because of the many factors at play, best to see what happens next spring.

You have mentioned pruning being carried out, was it done professionaly or by a friend? If pruning is done incorrectly bacteria can enter the tree and course disease problems. This is usually noticeable at and around the pruning points.
Pruning done by a local gardener we use for lots of different things. He's a graduate of the Agricultural College at Gembloux, so he should know his stuff.

The two trees in the drier part did not produce. The other two did (in fact, I need to get the apples from the last one, still on the tree in November!)
 

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The two on the left are in the "wet" area and the two on the right in the "dry" area. The second from the left is the Cox.

They were all pruned right back at the same time.

The bark is peeling on all four, but the two on the right, a little more.
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