I have a Golden Hornet crab that I planted last year in my home orchard for pollination. This spring it’s covered with flowers that are starting to open. My question is should I pinch off any crabapples that start to form? I know that you don’t let a regular apple carry fruit for the first 3 or more years but was wondering if the same applied to crabapples. I don’t want to stunt this tree.
No experience in this area but know for certain that commercial growers don’t thin their crab apple pollinators. If they get thinned it’s only via materials applied to thin the varieties they harvest.
In your case pinching off the fruit this yr would be a good idea. Probably after that you can allow it to fruit and still get reliable return bloom.
Consider that on a pome, the plant resources required to bring a single fruit to maturity are about equal to growing a 2-3 foot branch.
But would that be true of little fruit like Golden Hornet crab? With all the fruit I’ve seen on some crabs it looks more like 2-3 inches per fruit! Just curious.
The crabs chosen by commercial growers are reliably annual bloomers. They won’t chose ones that weren’t.
I’m not familiar with Golden Hornet.
From the biophysics viewpoint, pomes extend a lot of work to produce fruit in comparison to say Rubus. So size of the fruit is not necessarily proportional to missed opportunity to grow branches.