Runting Prevention 101

I’m looking for some clarity and maybe some help digging myself out of a hole.

I planted a Haralson (from what I’ve read, low vigor) on Geneva 41 from a local nursery. I didn’t pay close attention to it and now it has set quite a bit of fruit. Each fruit is about nickel sized. I assume I should thin out all of the fruit now, or am I too late? Should I prune back any of the branches that are bearing fruit?

I have a small yard, so I wanted this tree to be quite small, but how small is too small?

Too small is smaller than what you want. If it’s loaded with fruit and still smaller than you want, then prune off some of the fruit bearing wood and thin out the remaining fruit a lot asap. Once it’s runted out you may have to get even more drastic. So go after it hard now. Leave half the fruit you think you should and it will probably still be too much.


Exactly what fruitnut says, especially with Haralson. I grafted it to my tree (semi-dwarf, rootstock uncertain) years ago and it’s still very shy. It would be very easy to set it back permanently by letting it overset fruit while young. Great apple and worth the time, though.


Thanks for the tips! I thinned all but two of the apples and pruned some of the fruiting wood, so hopefully that will help.


You have to be scared of stunting out, especially with g.41. It’s “yield efficient “ meaning it sets a lot of fruit. Also “precocious” as they say.

I agree completely with Fruitnut. Think about the size of the finished tree you want.

My rule of thumb is I don’t let it set fruit until it’s about 2/3 what would be minimum acceptable as a finished tree. For me that’s about 6 feet tall.That first year of bearing I try to be extra aggressive in my thinning.

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If you want to grow the tree the best the correct answer is no fruit the first or second year, let the tree push all its growth towards well, growing. Then again; I’m pretty confident none of us here do that…

I still recommend no fruit the first year, and you thin hard the second. By the third you should thin so there is at least a fist distance between apples.

Crabs and varieties with lots of crab genes on them can crop more. On those you are thinning more for fruit quality. My Kerr would happily push 4~5 apples per cluster, I thin them down to two, and those clusters can be pretty much on top of one another.