Thoughts on Mutsu and Pink Lady/Cripps Pink

I usually avoid buying fruit trees from the “big box stores”, but Wal-Mart does have these two for about $15 each. Price isn’t bad, so if they ended up being mislabeled, then no big loss.

But before I pull the trigger, just wanted thoughts from other who have grown them. Primarily your thoughts on taste and any disease issues.


Mutsu is tasty. Cant help much on disease, we are dry and have few issues.


All three taste good. Mutsu is the best rated for disease resistance.


I would be far more concerned about the alleged rootstock they are on. Both Mutsu and Cripps are T3s so you are talking big trees even on semi-dwarf if you are in good soil. On standard you are talking 35-40 foot trees.

Mutsu is more disease and insect resistant because it has a thicker skin.


This is the first that I have heard of some sort of clasification for the vigor of scions, aside from hearing that honeycrisp is low vigor. Could you list the various Ts or link something that explains what is and isn’t a T3? I am planning on grafting about 40 different varieties soon and I would like to know what should be put on mm111 vs B9 vs a Geneva rootstock that I cant remember at the moment based on scion vigor. Thank you!

@Zafak, google “Estimated Tree Vigor for Apple Varieties”

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@Hristo tyvm!

I am not an expert on Geneva rootstocks but my (limited) understanding is you need to be very, very careful about your scions because one or more Geneva rootstocks is/are very virus susceptible.

There are 3 classifications for tree vigor, T1, T2, T3. T3 is the most vigorous. Be aware that viruses can dramatically impact vigor both in the scion wood and the rootstock. Take the M9 clones, almost all the cleaned up M9s (except NAKB T-337) are more vigorous than M9 itself (example: M.9 EMLA).

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Pink lady has been extremely vigorous here in central Georgia for the past two years. Last year it also got hit hard by fireblight, though perhaps that was the wettest summer here in over 20 years.

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My grafted Pink Lady fruited in 2018. The apples were small and ripened very late for my zone 6 (in Nov). The taste was good, sweet/tart but it was the first year, not enough sample.

I think @alan likes Pink Lady and @scottfsmith spoke well about Mutsu. I don’t have Mutsu.

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Mutsu on relatively vigorous rootstcks is challenging to manage and not the most reliable cropper here. I actually don’t think it is a useful as old-strain Yellow Delicious for that reason.

If you want a more interesting YD, Suncrisp would be my rec.

Pink Lady didn’t really ripen adequately last year- spring was late and all the rain didn’t help. But then none of my late apples were real good for the first time ever.

Adams has a new sport of PL that supposedly ripens a week sooner so I ordered 5.

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Hmmm…’Goldrush’ a medium vigor apple? Generally considered to be low-vigor, no?

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Both are really good tasting apples, Pink Lady is my favorite apple for hot climates, does really well here, and my all time favorite apple! It does not do well with fireblight though.

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I have to give my vote for Mutsu. Nice big apples, perfect for making apple dumplings. My family loves them like that.


Thanks to everyone for your thoughts! A member is sending me cuttings of Pink Lady, and I think I’ll purchase the Mutsu tree. Sounds like they are both good apples. A little concerned about possible fireblight issues with PL, but we’ll see.


Back when I bought my apples decades ago, Mutsu was a favorite cooker. It’s growing it that has turned me against it a bit, partially because of it’s crazy growth habit, but more because of biennial bearing.

Is it an annual cropper for you? What rootstock are you using?

Its also somewhat biennial for me, but not nearly as bad as GoldRush which is extremely biennial.

Recently Suncrisp has passed Mutsu in my orchard, Suncrisp is more reliable both on bearing and on flavor. Mutsu need to hang a long time to be great fresh eating and the deer have been making that hard for me to do.


I work hard on Goldrush in a way I never tried with Mutsu (don’t grow it any more) and have found that if I remove whole clusters of flowers so clusters are spaced where I want apples and then come back at the right time to thin the clusters, Goldrush is pretty consistent. But like a lot of late apples it also seems to need almost full sun to pull this off.

I believe removing shoots that block sun from spur leaves while you thin fruit in mid to late spring may also be helpful. They do regrow when removed this early but it is the early shade that is probably most damaging to annual production. Shaded leaves fairly rapidly permanently lose their ability to photosynthesize.

I now think that more dwarfing rootstocks create more consistent cropping entirely because they are less guilty of shading leaves that are most important for fruit production with vigorous vegetative growth that is eventually removed.

I also have some biennial issues with Suncrisp, but at both sites I manage it there is a bit too much shade.

Yellow Delicious seems about the most reliable bearer of its type, and older strains are under rated, IMO. I often think about your pointing out that, at least for a time, the French turned it into their primary culinary apple.

Just saw this so you can have more variety to contemplate.

They must be siblings with the same parents. Shizuka is firmer, sweeter and overall tastier of the two.


I grow both of them, Mutsu if well ripened is much better tasting for me. Shizuka is a big version of Golden Delicious. Mutsu has unusual anise and other flavors. But Shizuka is super productive and annual so its been allowed to stay around :slight_smile: