Apple Tree Questions

I have two apple trees.  Now, apples will grow in Arizona, although some may not set fruit every year because they may not see enough frost hours.  That’s one of those weird things about apples.

The question that I have is should you LET your tree set fruit, if it is going to?

Does that make sense?

Last year I planted two apple trees, neither of which I actually expect to get any fruit from this year considering we had a non-winter this year and things were just a little too balmy in my backyard.  Add in the fact that they are YOUNG trees and my expectations lowered more.

But then I saw this.

apple blossom 2 apple blossom 1

Is it detrimental to the tree to let it fruit?  One actually started to form an apple last year and I cut it off when I saw it.

Will I get better yields in the coming years if I keep the tree from fruiting?

Should I just stop wondering and let the tree do what the tree wants to do?

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16 Responses to Apple Tree Questions

  1. valbjerke says:

    Let the trees do what they do naturally. Pay attention to the pruning (in your climate I’m not sure when that’s best to do but a garden center should be able to tell you)

  2. valbjerke says:

    Oh – and you usually need two different ‘varieties’ of tree for successful pollination – though a few varieties are self pollination compatible. If you’ve a shortage of pollinators (bees etc) you might look into Mason Bees. Easy to keep, don’t make honey, used just for pollination. 😊

    • We have two different varieties, near each other, and we are getting quite a few little buzzing insects around. I’m not sure about pruning. I was going to do it when I normally do my trees near the end of winter when all the leaves are gone. But the apples never lost there leaves.

      • valbjerke says:

        Yeah – up here (huge orchard country just south of me) pruning is done first thing in spring. I actually don’t know when one would prune in Arizona. I would let the trees fruit though.

  3. I’d love to help but I have three trees that are about six years old and have never formed one apple. So, I’ll read what others have to say and maybe I’ll learn something. 🙂

  4. Laura says:

    I’m new to growing apples myself, but here goes … I believe you only need to remove apples if there are an overabundance. The tree can only support so much fruit, so too many will make the fruit smaller. In your case, if you are willing to forgo the handful of apples on your tree, I assume the tree would put the energy into getting bigger and stronger.

    • That’s what really prompted the question. It seems like a conservation of energy type thing. If less goes to the apples, then more goes to the tree. But then there is a big part of me that would like to eat an apple off of my tree. Even if it is only one. 🙂

  5. We have heard that in areas where there is no frost, if you will remove all the leaves on the tree in December the tree may respond by producing fruit next spring. Hope you will try this next winter and let us all know. We are in a tropical area and never get frost and would like to try this
    on one of our trees when it gets a little bigger. Thanks for an interesting blog!

    • Thanks for reading. I’ve never heard of stripping the leaves. My grandpa Don suggests flooding the base with ice during the winter to simulate frost. Two possible things to try!

  6. nebraskadave says:

    Keith, I didn’t know that apples could be grown in a no freeze zone. It will be interesting to me to follow your blog posts and see how it’s done. In my area folks are always trying to grow Apricot, Peach, and other southern fruit trees. Most years the blooms get frozen off by the last frost but on those years that the trees make it to fruit, it’s the sweetest most tastiest fruit I’ve ever tasted. That don’t happen very often.

    Apple trees abound here in Nebraska. Apple orchards are thick with apples during the fall season. Therefore it’s hardly worth the effort to grow apple trees here as the orchards provide an abundance of apples every year. Most orchards here will prune in the Spring and pick apples off the branches green if it looks like the weight of the apples might damage the branch. Mostly they just let the tree do what it’s going to do. After all they survived a long time before we started cultivating them. I think they might have an instinctive idea about what’s best, don’t you think?

    Have a great apple tree day.

    • Well, we normally get SOME frost hours. We definitely didn’t make it into the triple digits this year. Anna apples are the norm here but my family is not a big fan so we are trying a golden delicious and a granny smith. I’m not holding out a lot of hope unless we get a really cold winter like we did the winter before the non-winter. Anyway I’m leaning toward letting the tree alone. Let the apples form if we are so blessed. Thanks, Dave!

  7. Apples can produce with as little as as 62-70 days of below 45 degree weather. 🙂

    • Hmmm… I always try and count hours instead of days. We don’t typically stay below 45 on ANY day in winter. Pretty rare. Definitely not last non-winter. We dipped into the thirties a few times. I’m hoping that adds up to enough total hours.

      • Counting hours instead of days – wow, thats so interesting to have such a climate. Its very different than ours. I have a whole new level of appreciation for your gardening. 🙂

      • Well, everybody has challenges. Ours is heat and dry weather. We typically get around 100 days of 100 degrees (or more) and humidity dips into the single digits (7% one day when I checked last week). About 9 inches of rain a year. It’s kind of like cold and flooding, just… opposite. 🙂

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