General Questions About Pixie Crunch Apple

I’m new to apple growing, so hopefully you all will be able to direct me.

I live in Orange County, CA and am looking to plant some lower chill apples. I found a Pink Lady and a Red Fuji locally. The Fuji died even before planting, but the Pink Lady is doing well after a half year in the ground.

I’m looking to plant a partner for the Pink Lady and wonder if the Pixie Crunch would be a good companion. Some places say yes, others say little about pollinators or give conflicting information. Can anyone clarify?

I’m on a small lot, so a full sized tree is out of the question, but I don’t want a dwarf, either. I’d prefer a semi-dwarf but don’t see many options out there for that. Does anyone sell a semi-dwarf Pixie Crunch? If so, which root stock is recommended?

Thank you for any direction you can supply.

Cummins has Pixie Crunch on G935 which works really well in central Ia.
This recommendation may not be overly helpful.:slight_smile:

Thank you, Chikn. Would you happen to know what sort of height/spread will there be on a Pixie Crunch on G935?

Hello, welcome to the forum, you will find a lot of good information and conversation on this site. I joined back in the spring and I have learned a lot in that short time. Lots of helpful folks on here.

Anyway, to answer your question about G.935 rootstock size, they are generally 40-50% the size of a full size apple tree. So, it sounds like it is a semi dwarf, not dwarf rootstock.
Here is some info about this RS compared to some others.

https://www.acnursery.com/resources/rootstock-info/apple

Or,

As far as pollination goes both Pixie Crunch and Pink Lady have similar pollination times, so they ought to be a good match for each other.

This site I have found to be very informative regarding fruit trees, especially apples. It’s actually the home site of the second link above.

Our SoCal apple expert here is @applenut - I am calling him out and hopefully he will chime in. He has experimented with a huge number of different apples in your climate and knows which ones do best. See Apple Variety List for his list of what worked for him and what didn’t.

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G.935 might do okay for you, but I have heard @applenut and others say that 111 rootstock has the best chance of being successful for you down in southern Calif.

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Pixie Crunch didn’t do much here; Wickson blows it away anyway for both flavor and productivity.

It’s easy to keep M111 small here, I wouldn’t bother with dwarfing rootstocks. You need something vigorous to keep ahead of the borers.

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Why not MM106 or B118. They are in the neighborhood of MM111 in size, are considerably more precocious, set heavier crops and don’t sucker nearly as much as MM111. All of this is the case in my orchard in Reno, NV. Perhaps it’s different in the land of mild winter.

I’ve got three trees on MM111, all of which are years older than my trees on MM106 and B118. My MM111 trees are stout and relatively vigorous in my poor soil (rocky clay with fair drainage) but they produce so poorly that I can’t see ever using it again and may eventually remove them if they don’t shape up and produce better for me.

111 has superior anchorage to withstand the Santa Ana winds, and soil adaptability, and longevity.

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Thank you so much everyone, for your responses thus far. This brings up some more questions . . .

  1. Soil - Although I live 3 miles to the ocean, I am NOT on sandy soil. I’m about 100 ft. above sea level with rather heavy clay soil. How might this affect the choice of rootstock?

  2. Wickson is a crab apple, yes? Can it be used as a fresh eating apple/cooking apple, and not just for cider?

  3. I was surprised, applenut, to read that Pixie Crunch didn’t do well for you. If I’m remembering correctly, I believe it was one of your older posts that had me thinking that direction. Besides flavor, what was it that didn’t do well with the pixie crunch?

  4. How small can the larger rootstocks be kept? My backyard is only 25 feet deep by 64 feet wide. I already have a small veggie garden, a chicken coop, semi dwarf Eureka Lemon, Rio Red Grapefruit, Kishu Mandarin, a passion fruit vine, and the Semi Dwarf Pink Lady Apple. I do have a spot for another apple, but it cannot get any bigger than 12 feet without beginning to block sunlight to something else. The lemon, grapefruit, and Kishu are all partially over my back fence and I share with my neighbor just as they do with the naval orange they grow that shades my chicken coop. My Eureka lemon provides support for their dragon fruit. With small lots, we find ways to work together. :slight_smile:

Thank you, everyone, for your warm welcome and help as I learn more about apple growing. It is much appreciated.

You’ll want to use 111 rootstock. It will perform best for your conditions. It anchors and adapts well to clay soil. It is precocious and productive. If it gets too large, then prune it at the height of summer or the dead of winter (avoiding fireblight season).

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@SoCalGardenGal: I’m a big fan of M111 rootstock for apples in southern CA soils.

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Thank you again for the clarification on the M111 and pruning. I’ve done some reading on this and see the possibilities.

OK, my Pink Lady is already in the ground so whatever partner I choose must be complimentary. The Wickson Crab does sound intriguing (I love sweet/tart/interesting flavors), but from my reading, it sounds as if cooking results are mixed. Some say it works fine, while others say the texture is wrong and that it doesn’t soften as one would hope. Cider/Hard Cider might be fun to try (we have experience with brewing beer) but with only room for two trees, I am hopeful for as many uses as possible.

What is your experience? What would you plant in my situation? I really only have room for one more apple, so I hoping to get it as correct as possible for my climate and needs.

Thanks again!

I have 60 varieties of fruiting trees, shrubs, vines – and among them only room for two apples. In priority I chose:

  1. Gordon
  2. White Winter Pearmain

In a different climate I might have made different choices.

Pixie crunch just became available at Whiffletree (On) in Canada. So I would like to buy a tree… They list it as a zone 5…Less hardy than what I have right now; Liberty,Goldrush and William’s Pride (all listed as zone 4)… So my question it: is it really less cold hardy than these 3 other varieties? Will it die back every winter for me? I don’t want a tree that will die back (even a little), since it might make more susceptible to various diseases.

Pixie Crunch is field immune to scab, and one of the most delicious apples I’ve ever tasted.

If you can burn the money, it’s worth a try.

Thanks Matt, that’s what I read on various threads here…and… I couldn’t resist and already ordered it… I hope it will fruit here (and I hope it won’t die back too much). I also ordered Pristine and Crimson Crisp.

Understocks?

All trees grafted on Bud 9 (performs well here)

It might take awhile for the trees to size up. Maybe don’t let it fruit a few years so it can reach several feet high/ prevent it from runting out. You might be successful.