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Apple yields

 
Julia Franke
Posts: 66
Location: Berks County, PA
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i'm currently writing a blog post about apple trees as an investment. I figure you make your money back and then some quite quickly. However, my apple trees are all quite young, so they have not produced any fruit. Would you be able to provide me some estimates of how much a single apple tree produces in a year from your experience? Please include as much detail as you are inclined. First year yields, high yields, low/no yields. On average.

I really appreciate any and all input.

Thank you in advance.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Asking how much an apple tree produces is like asking what is the length of a string. A mature tree on standard rootstock can produce several hundred pounds of apples per tree. A slender spindle tree tied to a trellis system produces only a fraction of a standard tree, but an acre of slender spindle trees typically will out produce an acre of standard trees.

Here are a couple PDFs that will give you a good start:
http://www.cecentralsierra.ucanr.edu/files/60510.pdf
http://www.content.ces.ncsu.edu/high-density-apple-orchard-management.pdf

In terms of making your money back, if you ignore the cost of the land and your labor, my experience has been that you make your money back in the first year there's enough fruit on the tree that you actually take some it into your house instead of eating it right out there in the yard.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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Don't forget that apples are not the only cash maker on an apple tree. Scion wood from your pruning can be sold or traded and even in the first year. You'll be able to take a couple sticks from each tree. So at five dollars per stick you can pay for the tree in the first or second year. Saving seeds from the few fruits that you do get in the first few years can help you add new varieties or at least make root stock for grafting later. Just stratify them and plant them out in spring. Anything you get will be of some use at some point. Maybe just apple wood for smoking some bacon later on.

I bought 6 trees last year and I actually got one apple off my Honeycrisp tree this fall. It was a huge and perfectly formed fruit. Awesome taste too. So... that promising.

Good luck
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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I've used apple trees as an example of an excellent investment for some time. I use a production model (assuming larger semi-dwarf tree) that goes from 10 lbs in year 4 to 200 lbs in year 13 and then stays flat at 200 lbs for another 40 years. With such a great ROI, it doesn't really matter if you start with a $1 rootstock or a $30nursery tree - just plant it! Better still: plant 7!!

 
Julia Franke
Posts: 66
Location: Berks County, PA
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Thanks everyone. The amount I've been spending on Trees, bushes, and other perennial food plants over the past two years since I moved into my house has been quite staggering. It can be a little overwhelming.

Earlier this fall, I went to an Organic Apple Festival where you PYO apples. The cost was $35 for a half bushel or $60 for a full bushel. This made me realize that we were doing the right thing by investing (and it is truly investing) in trees. Not only are trees good for what they can supply you, they are so good for the environment, they make our soils better and lessen erosion. They provide shade. It was just a no-brainer.

As we have limited funds, my husband and I have yet to paint the inside of our home (which needs it), but we have allocated hundreds of dollars for trees.

Thanks again!
 
Dan Grubbs
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Julia,
Check with your state department of conservation (or similar agency) because many have reforestation programs. Our state has a pretty significant nursery program where residents can buy seedlings at about $1.00 each. Yes, they are seedlings, but what you give up in a few years of extra growth time, you make up for in cost savings. Last year I purchased about 70 fruit and nut trees (with some false indigo, too) and just last week ordered 85 new fruit and nut trees to be delivered to my doorstep for ... $65.00. Maybe you can cut back on your up-front costs if you state sells nursery stock. Worth a few phone calls.

 
Mike Haych
Posts: 216
Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Julia Franke wrote:Thanks everyone. The amount I've been spending on Trees, bushes, and other perennial food plants over the past two years since I moved into my house has been quite staggering.


Roll your own. Learn to graft. Buy a bit of rootstock, then trench layer or stool it to produce more. Trade/swap/beg scion wood. Check out USDA-GRIN for hard-to-find varieties that you are interested in. You'll quickly bring your costs down to nothing and have a regenerative way of producing more trees.
 
Ann Torrence
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My trees aren't in production yet, but these are the numbers I used to calculate yields at full production

rootstock: B9, G11, dwarf 1 bushel (40 lbs/20 kg)

M106, M 111, semi-dwarf 5 bushels (200 lbs/100kg)

juicing efficiency of 75% (10lbs/4kg)

10 lbs pomace per bushel. This is a significant secondary yield as we will be juicing over 500 trees at some point. I'm already talking with my neighbor about apple-finished beef.
Calculating these kinds of scenarios is far easier using the metric system. Thanks provincial American legislators of my youth.
 
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