Honey crisp apple tree. Healthy. Eight years and no apples. May be nine...

Asked August 5, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT

Honey crisp apple tree. Healthy. Eight years and no apples. May be nine years. Also have state fair and wonder if it only bears every other year. Have raspberries with circular damage to top of plant stem, breaks off and area dies. Cant find anything in he literature.

Otter Tail County Minnesota

1 Response

If the Honeycrisp you planted was a full-sized tree, it takes 7 or more years to produce apples. If it was a dwarf or semi-dwarf, it should take 3-5 years. However, if a semi-dwarf tree was planted too deeply, above the graft, then you may have created a full-sized tree, and your wait could be long.

Here are some other factors affecting fruit production. Sunlight: without adequate sunlight, your tree will produce fewer flowers and fewer apples. Apples need full sun to produce well. Pollinators: without bees, your tree will produce flowers, but few apples. A pollinator tree: apples require another (different) tree for pollination. In an urban setting, there are usually crabapples nearby which serve the purpose. You apparently have another tree (the State Fair tree), but is it somewhat nearby? Short growing season: you live in Otter Tail County, which is on the outskirts of feasible apple growing territory. Trees that are nipped by late frosts tend not to yield.

As for the biennial bearing of the State Fair tree, this is typical of apple trees. It is something apple growers have to live with. It can be ameliorated somewhat by thinning the clusters in the heavy yield years.

Here are references: on growing apples in general:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/apples-and-pears-in-minnesota-home-gardens/#va...
On reasons apples don't produce (and on biennial bearing):
http://umaine.edu/fruit/growing-fruit-trees-in-maine/lack-of-fruitfulness/