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Removing fruit from young fruit trees

 
            
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I thought I had read somewhere else on the site that when planting sapling fruit trees, one should remove all the fruit so the plant puts all it's energy into growing the root system. However, I cannot find where I had read that.  In any case, is this so?
 
Chris Holcombe
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I've read that also but I never bother to do it and nothing terrible seems to happen.  I think you can safely ignore that.  When I planted strawberries the first thing they did was flower.  The instructions said cut the flowers off but I just left them.  We got a great crop of strawberries last year and his year the plants are huge.  I don't think fruiting set them back very far. 
 
Jonathan Byron
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In general, plants do put a lot of their energy into making fruit/seed. If a young transplanted fruit tree is stripped of the flowers or young fruit, it will probably put more energy into vegetative growth and get bigger faster.

I agree with cholcombe - nothing terrible happens if the fruit on young trees is not stripped off. If someone has time to remove the fruits and wants to postpone their reward to next season, good for them. They might be rewarded two-fold or three-fold for the fruit they lost this year. But if someone is busy/lazy/impatient and does not strip the fruit, that is not a big issue.
 
Jordan Lowery
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when i plant fruit trees and they set lots of fruit the first year i take most of them off. for a few reasons. one has already been mentioned. when you take off the fruits the tree says to itself, "oh i must grow bigger now that all the fruits gone". the second is that on such a small tree, heavy fruit(even small fruit) can mess with the branches as they are young and weak. this in turn most of the time ends up in a weaker tree in the long run.

i do leave a few on there the first year to try the fruit, but usually only on a few branches and i stake and tie those branches in place. its not so much an issue with things like cherries.
 
brett watson
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my biggest problem is keeping the goats, kids, and kids (human) from pruning my trees for me 
 
            
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Thanks everyone.
 
John Polk
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In the long run, you are better off removing the fruits from the young sapling.  It will grow and support larger crops in the future.  Absolutely, leave a couple to sample (patients is not a normal human trait), but do not judge the tree by this year's fruit.  Just as a chicken's first few eggs are tiny, and not true to flavor, neither will this year's fruit be a true example of what is to come.  If you do have goats or visiting deer, they will probably get them anyway.
 
Chris Holcombe
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If humans weren't around to cut the flowers off the tree, what would have happened normally? 
 
Burra Maluca
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cholcombe wrote:
If humans weren't around to cut the flowers off the tree, what would have happened normally? 


I think normally they would have grown, in situ, from seed.  By the time they start flowering, they would already be pretty well perfectly adapted to have the right balance of root to branch to leaf to flower to suit the plant and it's surroundings.  But when we come along and dig one up from one place, sell it on the market, and then stick it back in another place, it's going to get itself a bit out of balance.  And it tends to be the roots that suffer most when we dig them up and replant them, so when the sapling tries to fruit, the roots can't support it. 
 
Chris Holcombe
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Good point, we've already interfered.  I think for my small fruit experiment with the strawberries it didn't matter much.  For a fruit tree it could matter more. 
 
rose macaskie
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   I keep the dear of the trees  by putting brush round the trees they dont like putting there feet into a moutain of sticks the sticks might give the trees molds though.
   I have heard that if you plant pointy stones point upward around trees this also helps keep the deer off trees.
   I  put plastic mesh, there is a sort of plastic mesh tha tis quite stiff, around the trunks to stop the deer rubbing their antlers on the tree trunks and taking the bark off which lack of bark lets in  diseases. It is not a very violent deterrent and it seems to work.

    Pity the apples don't grow to maturity  with their full flavour the first year or so after planting the trees, i am consumed with impatients to try them. I have been thinking about coxes coming out with a flavour that is a shadow of themselves in hot countries and i have wondered if they give them a lot of water in hot countries, apple trees that don't have much water seem to grow more flavoursome apples. It may be that this is also a reason for their fruit to be less flavoursome in the first few years, most people water their new trees.

  I have just read burra malucas posting , luckily the fruit on my new trees ha¡s not set except on a crab appl and i am hopi8ng the crabs are hardier than the other trees and i might get three crab apples. agri rose macaskie.
 
M.K. Dorje
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In my experience, Blueberry plants in one gallon containers or even 2 or 3 gallon size containers, should always have the flower buds removed when tranplanting them. Otherwise, the plants will be stunted and not grow nice long canes. In addition, they usually will not flower much the next year and your future crops will be limited. The tiny crop that you might get the first year is not worth saving. I think that on dwarf fruit trees the first  flowers should always be removed when transplanting as well- otherwise, you will stunt the trees. Mini-dwarf Apple trees on EMLA 27 rootstocks should especially have the flower buds removed when planting, according to the Raintree catalog. 
 
Emerson White
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Burra Maluca wrote:
I think normally they would have grown, in situ, from seed.  By the time they start flowering, they would already be pretty well perfectly adapted to have the right balance of root to branch to leaf to flower to suit the plant and it's surroundings.  But when we come along and dig one up from one place, sell it on the market, and then stick it back in another place, it's going to get itself a bit out of balance.  And it tends to be the roots that suffer most when we dig them up and replant them, so when the sapling tries to fruit, the roots can't support it. 


This post is full of win. I will mention also that even a tree grown from seed can have problems, If you take care of those problems then that tree can go on to have seeds of its own that have the same problems. Nature removes them, but sometimes the trouble of fixing the problem is worth it for us to have them. There are fruit trees that are bred in such a way that they must be pruned in order no to split themselves.

You wouldn't expect a yorkie to survive in a wolfepack, so why would you expect an apple to survive with the wild crabs?
 
Paula Edwards
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How about some starposts and chicken wire against the deer? It's a bit more expensive though.
 
Troy Rhodes
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The goal of the tree (plant, bush, shrub), without outside influence is to make viable seed.  You don't need a big juicy tasty fruit to do that.

We, on the other hand, are interested in a big tasty fruit, and not interested at all in viable seeds (usually).

Left to its own devices, a typical apple tree will produce a jillion small, not so tasty fruits, and gobs of seed.

We have entered into a pact with the apple tree.  I'll protect you and create an ideal micro-environment so you can thrive, and I'll keep grafting new "offspring" so you're guaranteed to pass on your genetics.  In return, I want big juicy fruit, even though that's somewhat aberrant "in nature".

Mike Phillips makes some pretty good points in his book on organic orchard management:

http://www.herbsandapples.com/books/grower.php


He is likely to remove 5 or 6 out of 7 fruitlets to get a good tasty crop.  The photosynthetic power of the leaves on a given apple tree can only produce (picks random number...) 100 pounds of apples.  That could be 700 little dry bitter things, or 200 big juicy things.  Take your choice.  It's still a good thing that the tree sets a lot of blossoms and fruitlets, so if you lose 70-80% of the blossoms to a late frost, you can still get a good crop.  This is not so much true on blueberries, but is mostly true on most fruit trees.


And on a transplant, it has enough on its plate just surviving the first couple years and building a sturdy infrastructure for future crops.

I thin the fruit, but leave a few cause I just can't stand to take them all off.

I have a 3rd year peach tree that is positively festooned with lovely blossoms that I'm going to decimate in a few weeks.

Good luck and have fun!

 
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