Are there tricks to getting apples earlier?

I have two Franklin cider apple trees on my yard as a test to see if they can produce apples before winter sets in. The trees are hardy enough but it is still in the air whether it can mature fruit. Are there any tricks to get an apple tree to ripen fruit faster than the norm?


Are yours in ground or in a container ?

I have heard that they may produce fruit earlier if in a container… not sure about ripening earlier though…

I have my first apple tree in a container this year… novamac on b9. I may eventually put it in ground… new house project currently on hold… so it is in a container for now.

In ground

Almost anything that produces fruit… will ripen it sooner if it gets stressed.

You can cut about half the roots on a tomato plant and it will ripen tomatoes faster. They are determined to reproduce and that is one way they can ensure reproduction.

Probably not an option for your apple trees though.

The only thing I can think of is anything that gets it going earlier in the spring (assuming adequate pollinators at that time) and increasing the heat units. Basically, espalier against a south wall sounds like your best bet. Since they’re already in ground, your next best bet might be moving a lot of large rocks near them to trap heat and keep them warmer.

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@jcguarneri … yes agree with that… that is what I may do with my novmac on b9… after we build.

That is also prime fig location too.

But in a location like that… it may bloom earlier… which is not good if you have late frost (like me).

Lots of ways.
But why would you want to do that?
Things that ripen fast, also spoil fast.

Do you mean ripening conversion of starch to sugar?
Or development of aromatic phenols & terpenoids?
Conversion of methoxypyrazines & tannins to aromatic compounds?
Many different separate systems which people often conflate & call ripening.
Please clarify.
Sauvignon Blanc can have all its starch converted to sugar yet still be extremely tannic & also very high in methoxypyrazines to the point of tasting like fresh cut grass!
Clarify what you mean by ripening & I will assist :sunglasses:

The main idea is to make certain you give it the best nutrients that contribute to fruit development such as foliar treatments with the trace elements that are essential. Calcium and magnesium are two that I use each growing season, otherwise the ones mentioned above make sense. If the trees are not too high you could create a solar tent with clear poly to extend the growing season which can significantly add 10-15 degrees when useful
Kent, wa

Getting apples earlier.
Ethylene production needs to be maximized to get fully mature fruit sooner.
Cytokinins which make fruits large slow down all processes of maturity & ripening.
Dry farming works & results in very high quality, but fruits are small & so is yields!

Leaf pulling North side of canopy 1 month before you want harvest to get maximum yellow light on the fruit will maximize aromatic phenols & terpenoids.

cover soil around tree with plastic sheeting to warm the soil up to get the tree growing 2 weeks earlier. The tree should continue growing faster in its normal starting time.

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If you are in a cool climate.
Don’t warm soil if in Zone 9 or 10


Pears sometimes ripen here in July but not this year. Heat is a big factor but we have not had enough of it yet. It is very hot right now so you never know. It has been a cold spring overall so it put the pears behind. Back to how that helps you make sure your tree has direct sunlight. Fruit ripen slower in the shade here ofcourse.


I planted two Franklin Ciders on b118 from Stark Bros. in May of 2019. One had a hand full of blossoms this year. Looks like it set an apple or three. They seem like they want to make fruit pretty young. My trees really aren’t big enough to support more than an apple or two right now.

I’d imagine if I took a scion from one of the FC’s and grafted it to a tree that has been bearing for years I’d get fruit in year two.

It looks like each apple variety has it’s own personality.

These Franklins seem hell bent on putting foliar growth. It put out decent flowers, dropped half the fruitlets, (needs about half of what’s left thinned) but the baby apples have stop growing while branches are taking off. No more fertilizer for these guys.

In contrast my prairie magic thinks it is a crab apple tree; it is trying to grow every single flower it had into an apple (I keep thinning then a lot so it doesn’t turn biennial), the fruitlets are fattening fast, with little foliage growth.

The Franklin does have a reputation for super hardy flowers so hopefully black tarping the soil to gain a week or two will gain me a week or two without risking losing all the buds to a frost.

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Trim part or all the leaves off where the apples are to get them more sun. If you do that here they can burn in the sun so be careful.

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Has anybody used rest breaking chemicals to coax an apple tree to wake up earlier?

The use of:
thiourea, calcium cyanamide, potassium nitrate and hydrogen cyanamide to promote budbreak.
In yeast symbiosis Calcium Citrate, Calcium Acetate, Urea, ThioUrea, gibberellins & cytokinins get made.
It is far more effective & part of my 4 decades of research.
A blend of (1/4) teaspoon Magnesium Chloride & (1/8) teaspoon Calcium Chloride & (1/4) teaspoon Citric Acid in 1 gallon water is also effective, plus provides a little bit of protection from late frosts.
However, too much Chloride inhibits Nitrogen assimilation.
Too much Chloride can trigger Anti-Gibberellin hormones during water stress & sometimes Abscisic acid production causing blossom of young fruit drop if weather suddenly turns hot & dry.
I prefer stimulating yeast symbiosis.
No products based on research yet.
Maybe some day.

I already googled for the basic info. I’m hoping to hear from real world experience in the small orchard, using chemicals that are more readily available at out level.

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