Years to Fruit

I did a search and didn’t see any threads that matched, though I’m sure it’s been discussed here somewhere.

When a source quotes a ‘years to fruit’ for a cultivar (which grafted rootstock characteristics can change some), do they mean years of growth of fruiting wood, years after grafting (if applicable) or do they mean years after you’ve planted the tree in it’s final location?

I ask because I’ve often been told it’s years from when you plant it, even if you receive a tree that is 2+ years old.

That just doesn’t make sense to me.

Also I know that is an estimate based probably in a climate different than where the tree ends up in my yard.

I’ve also wondered whether by ‘fruit’ they mean good production as opposed to first fruit.

I live in a place where if I see a snowflake falling from the sky, then I would say it snowed.

If I get a fruit that holds on a tree, it has fruited.

I’m an optimist that way…


Good topic!

I think “years to fruit” is meaningless unless some qualifier is attached. For example, “years to fruit from seedling”.


I have often wondered the same when reading threads on this forum.

I’ve heard people refer to tree age by “leafs” , and I like this method. If I plant a whip from a nursery, it’ll be going into its 2nd leaf my first growing season. All 10 of my 4th leaf apples on m111 set fruit this year, although only a handful of fruit per tree. 3 of 7 3rd leaf trees set fruit, but I did not let them mature.

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At the end of the day of course the tree is going to do what it wants.

Perhaps knowing the answer isn’t exactly useful as long as you can make a valid comparison between two different varieties.

From seed makes a bit of sense but I would not be surprised if the answer is years old of the fruiting wood… Meaning the graft.

But I’ve also read characteristics of rootstock can bring bearing time forward so it’s obviously not simple.

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@clarkinks is going to tell us about insane behavior of pears grafted on various rootstocks.



Dwarfs fruit faster than standards but live less time.

Most peaches and nectarines fruit in 2-4 years.

Pears are highly variable. Harrow sweet can fruit in 1 year but some types can take 15 years

Jujube fruit in a few years

Apples 3-7 years

Mulberry 2-4 years

Blackberry/ raspberry / gooseberry 1 -4 years

Strawberries same year - following year

All fruits are variable based on genetics and rootstocks if any are used.



In your post, I believe you are referring to scionwood grafted on in-ground rootstock?

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That is mostly true yes. Dwarf and standards are normally grafted. Cherries such as the canadian prarie cherries , hazelnuts, brambles etc. normally are not grafted. I am just making that distinction for the benefit of newer orchardist reading not for Richard since he knows that.

I wasn’t thinking there would be a difference in whether the graft was done in-situ or not.

Just thinking I don’t know if the age of the rootstock on a grafted tree would start the clock for fruiting maturity or the actual age of the fruiting wood itself from when it was grafted.

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@Richard is trying to clarify i think what we are discussing grafted or seedling trees. As an example quince rootstock with pear grafted on will fruit quickly. A seedling pear takes many years. Everything else is in between. Johnny appleseed planted many seeds but some were better than others no doubt. At my farm i would go back and graft over the bad ones with the good ones. Those trees might take 14 years to fruit or 3 years. You never know with a seedling tree they are genetically unique.

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I think everything I’ve ever bought from stone to pome fruit has been grafted so…



There are advantages to both grafted and ungrafted. Carmine jewell cherries are not grafted and quickly spread through suckers at around year 5

Blackberries like these are not grafted and spread through the ground quickly.

Pears like these rootstocks i grafted after they grew out and established roots. The scion i graft to the rootstock determines how long it takes to fruit primarily. The rootstock once established as long as its a known type produced in a certain number of years. Seedling rootstocks can influence years to fruit though.

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Did you cross streams? I mean threads? You last answer, though interesting, seems to be off this topic.

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No it is relevant believe it or not. Grafted versus ungrafted fruits makes a difference in not only how it is propagated but also in years it takes to fruit. A carmine jewell cherry takes a few years to yield a couple of fruits. A seedling of carmine jewell might take 2 years or 10 years or a few years like the parent.

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Like you, all my fruiting trees except figs are purchased as a cultivar grafted on rootstock. Also, nearly all of the rootstock are clones (rootings of roots!). So my apple on M-111 has not had its clock set by the rootstock. Instead, the roots need to develop a resource capacity before the plant as a whole can produce significant crops.


Thanks for all the replies to a rather esoteric question.

I had thought of naming the thread “Years to Ovulation” but was afraid it wouldn’t be funny to everyone…though it truly is an apt statement.



You might also enjoy these threads since rootstocks determine more than just the number of years until a tree produces fruit. Choose your rootstocks wisely!

When I obtain a bareroot fruit tree, it typically flowers and sets at least 1 fruit the first year. A crop though takes 2-5 years.

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Thank you @clarkinks and @Richard


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