Should I prevent new trees from fruiting

I just ordered a variety of fruit trees to start an orchard, all on super dwarfing rootstock and will be in extremely large pots for 1-3 years until I can put them in the ground. My goal is to try different varieties and decide if I like the fruit or not and if it’s something I want to grow, and once I decide what to keep I can use the tree that I have for scionwood to graft. Should I remove flowers the first few years, or could I let 2-3 flowers stay on each tree and hand pollinate them to try the fruit.

There’s no farmer’s markets in my area that has these varieties so it’s the only way I can taste test them


If you’ve purchased big, “feathered” trees and plan on keeping them in pots awhile, if it were me I’d allow one to 3 fruits on a M9 or B9 or G41 rootstock. But, doing so will likely stunt your tree from ever reaching full size. (Sounds like you’re not worried about that, but instead are planning to use the scionwood to graft more trees).

Good luck!

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I have done it several times. Blueberry is right though it is not a good idea. I had one stunted and the rest never fruited again for several years.

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They’re small and lopped off for shipping, not big. I definitely want them for scionwood later on and not fruit so they can be unproductive later on and small, and they’re kind of a test to learn if I want to grow that variety since I’m overly picky about fresh eating fruit flavors. I should probably give em a year or two to fill the pot with roots and get a good crown.

Why does letting it fruit early prevent future fruit?

In early fruiting, the tree “runts out” and never grows any bigger. And since the tree isn’t really big enough to support fruit you permanently reduce the cropping potential of the tree. Trees on dwarf rootstocks are really prone to this happening. You really haven’t stated what rootstocks you have the trees on. There is a big difference between G11 and say M27.

Really if you have any ground I would put the trees in the ground. You can place them on a 3 foot spacing and commercially trees on dwarf rootstocks are grown on a 3-4 foot spacing. It’s much easier to kill trees in pots from lack of watering during dry periods or from cold since being in a pot makes a tree 1-2 zones less hardy. If you have to go with pots I would wait until the 3 year until cropping with some exceptions where you may crop in the second year.

Hi Mel, Welcome! Are you WA state or DC? If in our state, keep an eye on the weather coming our way unless you don’t have the trees yet. Some of mine have been in pots ten years. Many were moved twice, never in the ground but that is about to change as I just moved to the country. Also feel free to post in the Introduction section so can meet you. Most of mine were put on Bud9 rootstock.

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If you have hot summers, trees in pots will need a lot of care. Those pots get hot and dry out pretty easily compared to anything in the ground. Potted plants don’t have the heatsink of the neighboring soil, and they get radiative and convective heating on the sides.

Letting a tree bloom and maybe having one or two fruits seldom harms it a lot.
Go for it. (But if it sets dozen or two…be brutal and pluck them.)

A big crop on a small tree…and the tree will quit growing.
Why? I don’t know…why does it rain? Or snow or sleet?

Wa state, I only have one on hand atm I’m in an apartment for now and it’s pushed in a corner south facing wall surrounded by the rest of my potted collection for winter.

Well container culture and in the ground are different. Im with blueberry and think you could let this tree fruit early since you are just using it as a trial and for scion and not planning on putting it in the ground forever. I would recommend a fabric pot for the dwarf tree roots and just assume it will be in a container most of its life or a smaller ornamental dwarf later on.

I doubt you have to worry about hand pollination if there are other flowers and bees around but you could put a clay pot in the container to make watering easier in summer or set up a drip system.

Well, we don’t know the rootstock. If it’s M27 it’s not going to bounce back. If you just want one apple and are going to discard the tree why buy a tree? Cummins nursery offers apple boxes every year. You get 14 apples each of which is a different cultivar and it’s labeled. All of them are good heirlooms King David, Ashmead’s Kernel, Esopus Spitzenberg, etc. You could taste the apples and then see what you wanted to plant.

That’s what I did before I planted apples trees. I bought one of Cummin’s apple boxes and marked down the ones that tasted good. And I looked up these apple trees’ disease resistance and climate tolerance. Then I ordered two trees I liked that would work in my climate and I though had the ability to deal with my disease pressure. But I also realized that the disease pressure might be higher than I expected and that the apples that I grow might taste different than the ones in the box so I also bought two modern disease resistance trees to hedge my bets.

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It’s really tempting to let a new tree fruit as we all want early rewards. I’ve learned trees are a long term hobby and setting the tree up for success in the next 3 years is pretty important. Spend your time now working on the trees shape. By year two maybe let a couple fruits form. By year three all is good. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thin after fruit set. But you will be fine letting the fruit grow.

Share the secrets if you can get a M111 to bear a good crop in the third year.
I can’t generally get one bloom.

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