Can I leave one apple on a tree I planted this spring or is it a really bad idea?

Hello, so I know the first 1-2 years I am supposed to remove the fruit to let the tree grow roots, etc but I am really really curious what this apple variety tastes like. I don’t know the age of the tree, I assume a few years old. I received it bareroot and planted a few months ago. When looking around, I noticed that the tiny crabapple I also planted at the same time worked super hard and actually managed to pollinate a few apples on this tree. Is it a huge deal if I leave one to grow?

I’d leave it, just the one, till it was good and ripe. I planted a dolgo crabapple (great variety) and it made a full crop the first year it was in.

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Thanks for the reply! The crabapple I have (not the tree pictured) is Centennial and I am super curious about that one too, I’ll leave 1-2 apples there. The only crabapple I ever tasted was some random no-name tree growing in the country and I have very fond memories of it as a kid. Hopefully Centennial will be good too.

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One apple won’t hurt. Here’s a nice guide for fruit load based on the diameter of the tree. Your tree could probably handle 10 to 15 fruit in all reality.

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Is there such a thing for other fruits e.g., plum and peach?

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Thanks! I am less worried about the tree physically being able to handle the weight but more worried about some places I read saying that the tree can fail to develop well or even die if allowed to fruit out in the first year because they need to spend the energy on establishing roots rather than growing fruit.

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You’re right, and that’s still pretty sound advice. The load guide from Cornell is based on their research for tall spindle trellis systems of dwarf trees that they expect to only be productive for up to 15 years anyway.

The late great Michael Phillips always said, spend the first few years growing wood, so you can spend many years after growing fruit.

I think you’re right not too leave more than one fruit for tasting.

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I’ve never seen one for peaches or plums but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. A lot of that tree load info came out for apples grown on trellis systems specifically. It’s more about getting yield and revenue quicker.

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Thanks! I’ll then just leave one fruit and see how it goes. I am just so so curious and worried about the taste. Choosing them was a nightmare - I read a ton of stuff on the internet with people saying that it’s the best apple in their life, the worst apple in their life, and anything in between.

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I was curious about this, I have a Suncrisp that I grafted maybe 4 years ago, but planted in the ground 2 years ago. Now it’s about 7ft tall with many branches. Don’t know the trunk diameter right now, but I’m guessing one inch maybe. It’s loaded with a lot of fruitlets, so looks like I’ll need to thin them out to maybe a dozen.

It’s probably not a ‘huge deal’, and I doubt one apple will kill the tree, but I personally remove all fruit set from first year, bare root trees that I plant. Your tree looks to be growing nicely, but yes, generally most fruit trees need time to develop a proper root system before fruiting or you can set your tree’s development back a couple years. I’ve noted that apples grafted on to rootstock are very prone to fruiting out in their first summer, my guess is that they probably still think they’re a branch on a tree. Generally in the 2nd summer they seem to figure things out and work on leaf/branch production instead of blossoms. Anyway my 2 cents.

Let us know how it goes.

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One or two apples won’t hurt. But 10-15 would be way too many. The crop loads suggested by UMass are pretty high IMO. But they know more about it than I do. And I’m sure they’ve done studies to back that up. Still, that’s a commercial crop load. Commercially yield has to be a high priority. They sell by the pound not by brix or any other quality factor.

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What variety and what rootstock?

While I agree that leaving one fruit should not stunt the tree, I have had my apple trees that had gone biennial when I let them fruit at young age. Happened to me a couple of time

@subdood_ky_z6b - my SunCrisp is on Bud 9. It has tendency to be biennial if you don’t thin well. If I were you, I would thin well.

It’s Wynoochee Early on EMLA 26 dwarf rootstock. And yeah, I am not growing commercially and 10-15 apples would be a big overkill for my current goal of just sampling it. Really just curious to taste this apple to calm myself down about all the reviews I’ve read. I am not at the tree now but from my memory it has 2, maybe 3, clusters of flowers that got pollinated. My hope is to thin these and leave 1 or 2 apples.

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Thanks. Mine is on a M7, it’s been a pretty vigorous grower since I put it in the ground a couple years ago. I also planted a Stayman, Goldrush, Honeycrisp and Mollie’s Delicious at the same time but they’re not as big nor did they bloom.

I agree with @fruitnut that an apple or two would not stunt the tree and also agree with him that crop load suggested by UMass is very high.

With the tree shown in the OP’s pic, leaving 10 fruit would be too much already but that’s my backyard’s opinion.

@Eugeneb Definitely share your experience if you get to taste it this year. Wynoochee seems intriguing to me as well, but you’re right there seem to be some mixed reviews on it. I hope it turns out great for you!

Yeah I wouldn’t let the OP’s tree set 10 fruit, but I think mine could. It was about 3ft tall when I put it in the ground, and is over 7ft now. I guess you could call it 3rd leaf, even though I grafted it about 5 years ago.

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Haha thanks, I’ll definitely share how this comes out and if the apple is good!

And I’ve had this problem with not just Wynoochee. For pretty much every fruit I selected to plant, there are a ton of reviews, some praising it, some cursing it. It seems like there are just too many variables here to the point that the end result is as good as random - the “taste” itself is very subjective, growing conditions, when it was picked, etc… For example I have an old tree on my property that I suspect is Gravenstein. It’s one of the tastiest apples I’ve ever had. I bought Gravenstein from the grocery store last year and while the look is similar, the taste is not even remotely the same.

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I thinned them out and ended up with two apples, both from the center of their cluster. Wrapped them up and if everything goes well, in 3 months I should know what Wynoochee Early tastes like! Reeeeeeeally hoping it’s an enjoyable apple.

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