Questions not deserving of a whole thread


Yes it could certainly be something else. But next year I would start spraying immediately after petal fall to be safe, don’t wait for the first strikes. Especially on peaches it can take some time before the strikes become apparent.


I inherited a multi budded apple tree in really bad shape when I moved into my house a couple of years ago. It was tied to a stake with a piece of cloth that seemed to have been there for several years and had caused the trunk to rot through. The structure of the tree is also pretty bad and it is just generally barely clinging to life. So here’s my question: Should I…

  1. Rip it out and plant a new tree


  1. is it reasonable to maintain one of the suckers you can see in the photo, and next Spring attempt to graft one of the varieties from up above down onto the sucker while removing the main trunk. FYI, I am very much a novice fruit grower and have attempted a grand total of 0 grafts so far in my career.


It looks like chunks of bark are missing at the bottom. I think you will be better off removing this tree.


That tree has some good roots on it, I would cut off all but that sucker at the base now and you will have a big stock to graft to next spring. Too bad you didn’t ask a month ago, you could have grafted it then. Note that the tree should grow back fine now that the cloth is gone, so if you want a Jonagold you can also just keep it as is.


I agree, waste not. Use that sucker!


I have a Jonagold apple tree, which the internet says is like a spur type apple. It seems that the areas of the tree where I had apples last year are now all vegetative growth. New flowers did appear, but at the ends of the long, weak branches.

Am I mistaken in thinking that those spurs would be permanent?

If no fruit sets on the end of those whispy branches, my thought would be to prune them back to stiffen up the side branches. Is this correct?

I know its been said, but pruning seems to be the hardest concept in growing fruit on trees.


Is there any guidance on “nurse limbs” once your grafts take?

I left a big limb on a 1 year seedling peach because I was not confident of my peach grafting ability. The grafts have all grown 2.5" or more so I think they’ve taken but I’m still not sure if I should prune off the nurse branch. So far I’ve just been pinching the tips to keep it from growing any larger.


I would cut off your "nurse branch "
Force all the growth into your grafts


Great! Thanks for the help. In retrospect I wish I would have grafted it a month ago, but I wanted to let it flower to polenate the honeycrisp next door… which incidentally seems to have worked as I’ve got my first crop of honeycrisp fruitlets developing away. I will take your advice and remove the main trunk now to favor the sucker and Graft next spring. One more question: the sucker has quite a bit of branching going on. Should I remove lateral shoots on the sucker to get one solid whip, or just let it do it’s thing and remove those next spring when I graft?

Thanks again!


It’s a personal preference. For me, I would not remove a thing because I would want the thickest diameter “trunk” possible for this year’s growth. I would do a bark graft low on the tree next spring. But for a new grafter you may want to consider doing two or three smaller type grafts. Just to make sure you get one take.


Hey phil. Do you mind telling me how old your honeycrisp is if this is its first fruit. I have a 5 year old tree surrounded by pollinators that still hasn’t set a single fruit!!! Just curious if this is somewhat normal for honey crisp? Mine also seems to be a slow grower?


Jim, I have a Jonagold its now 11 years old and I was the worst at pruning and made every mistake. Jonagold has spurs but is not a tip bloomer, I would prune it but not now. I would wait till Feb. my Jonagold first tip bloomed in the first four to five years, then after corrective ptuning the blossoms spread to the entire tree. So much of growing fruit is patience. Do you have a proper pollinator since it is a triploid? My Jonagold this spring!


I wonder if your tree is on a standard rootstock. Such a rootstock can take 7-8 years ( or more) to start bearing fruit. Mine is on an unknown. I think it is on a standard. It was a potted tree.

It took about 6- 7 years to flower and fruit for the first time. The tree must have been 2-3 years old before I planted it. Technically, it took a total of almost 10 years for my trree to fruit.

I believe re. your tree, it is not because of lack of cross pollination, it could be because of a rootstock it is on.


What rootstock is it on? I have HC on bud9 that has fruit in year 2 and HC on M26 that had fruit in year 3.


Beautiful tree. Jonagold is one of my favorites.


My Honeycrisp is in year 6 and hasn’t given me fruit yet either (and I’ve got 3 other apples in my 1/8th acre yard)

It did bloom this year and last, at least. Not sure if anything set this year, though as I’ve been busy.



My honeycrisp is 6 years old. Last year it flowered but no fruit set. This year I had about 10 fruit clusters, each with several fruit… I thinned it to one fruit per cluster and am hoping it will keep growing as it is quite a small tree (maybe 5 feet tall). It was already planted on the property when we moved in and the tag that was left with it just says “semi dwarf honeycrisp” so I don’t know what root stock it is on, but I am guessing M 111 as I’ve read that this combo can lead to slow bearing. Hopefully next year you will get some fruit… maybe 6 years is the magic number! Here is a picture of my tree

Also thanks @BambooMan for the input on how to handle the sucker!


I also want to forewarn you that HC has a tendency to go biennial if not thin aggressively.

When my tree blooned the first time, I had three clusters of fruit that produced 3-4 apples after thinning. The next year, not one bloom. It was bienial for a couple of cycles. I just broke its cycle when I thinned about 80% of blooms off kast year.

This year it bloomed profusely again. Your tree will come in full production soon. You just have to thin hard when it happens.


wow…based on all the answers here it sound like honey crisps can fruit anywhere from year 2 to year 8. Mine is suppossed to be semi dwarf but I don’t know what the rootstock was. It is comparible in size to all my other semi-dwarf apples, but there is no way to know for sure if it is actually semi dwarf of some kind.

thanks for everyone’s input.


It is because the word “semi-dwarf” is used so casually from M26 to G 203, G 210 to G 890 to M7 to M 111, etc. in fact, some of these rootstocks are more precocious than the others.

So, with labels “semi-dwarf” like these, no wonder some rootstocks can fruit in 3 years and some may be in 8-10 years.

It is also true that some apple varieties seem to be more precocious than others. I have Alkmene grafted last year that flowered right away. This year, it flowered profusely again from a foot long stick.