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apple tree help?

We have inherited a couple of small apple trees in our new garden, cox and russet I think.
All was going well, they bloomed, bees came and did their thing, the flowers died off and tiny rounds were forming at the base of each flower.
I went to check on the progress of our tiny fruits after not looking at them for 3-4 days and all of the leaves have shrivelled up and mostly fell off and all of the tiny forming fruits have fallen off too! 😨😨😨😨

Both have what I'd say is quite a bit of lichen on them but seemed reasonably healthy.

Should I have been watering and feeding them?  I think I just assumed they were a tree in the garden and they would get by like all of the others.

We have rather sandy ( Suffolk coastal ) soil and a very busy mole ( could he have damaged the roots? )

I was so looking forward to our own apples this year 😭

Any ideas, advice?

I had this happen a few years back, at our last place. As it turns out (for us), it was a simple matter of watering more. I would add, it probably wouldn't hurt to fertilize this year and then water like crazy. Just don't leave standing in water. (I was soooo sad when I watched the fruit fall of bit by bit...). The other thing I found out was that if I didn't water enough, aphids came in full armies causing much damage in the form of curling and loss of leaves.

The lichens on the tree are not the problem, its actually a sign of your good air quality.
Our holding is not an organic one, so I spray weed killer in a square around each and everyone of our fruit trees. Fruit trees do not enjoy competition from other plant life such as grass. With just a few trees you could control this competition either by weeding around them or by using a mulch.
If you've had a dry period of weather, then watering might have helped and you should also consider applying blood meal around them this autumn.

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