how to prune a fuji apple tree?

lanicowMarch 21, 2012


I found out my Fuji is a tip-bearer and needs to be pruned differently.

I followed this guide* and last winter headed back any lateral that was 9" or longer.

Recently I noticed the laterals are really long. I'm not sure how I should prune for this spring/summer.

What steps do you do from year to year to prune your fuji apple tree?


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alan haigh

Fuji bears on tips but that doesn't make it a tip bearer which generally means that the main crop comes from terminal flowers on annual wood. Fuji also develops spurs that produce fruit as well as its fattest flowers on 2-year wood of the previous years pencils. It's also prone to being bienniel in my climate in southeastern NY. Where seasons are longer it's more reliably fruitful.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:22PM
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alan haigh

I would like to know your rootstock before I give any pruning recs.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:23PM
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alan haigh

I just read your info source and it is inaccurate IMO. I manage a lot of Cortlandt and they definitely produce their best fruit on 2-year wood. Same is certainly true of Empire, which i haven't even observed as having a tendency of fruiting on tips. They certainly produce fruit on spurs and 2-year shoots.

I'm trying to sort out Golden Russet, which I manage on old trees where they bear on spurs but young trees do produce a lot of fruit on tips. A lot of the varieties they mention I don't have experience with but the only true tip bearer I manage is yellow transparent.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:31PM
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harvestman, I still have the original plant tag. Hopefully it'll say what root stock and I'll post that next week.

This year I have a lot of 2 yr old wood. I'll see if they fruit on that wood.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Just found the original plant tag, it reads:
Dwarf Fuji Apple
Malus 'Fuji'

Harvestman, does that tell you what the rootstock is?
If not, I can ask the nursery where I bought it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 5:48PM
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alan haigh

If it's actually a dwarf it's on M9 or M26 most likely. You should just remove any branches more than half the diameter of the trunk at point of attachment until tree starts to bear.

If it is on M9 it may have fruit the second year- M26 might take 3, although I've only grown in on 106, 111 and 7, all semi dwarf to semi standard.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 7:20PM
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I am interested in this discussion myself. I got my Fuji Apple tree from Trees of Antiquity and they use MM111 rootstock for the semi-dwarf apple trees.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:23PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Me, too. I have both a Fuji and a Red Fuji. This is their second year. VERY slow to "wake up". Just starting to show signs of blooming and leafing out, now. The Red Fuji is on M111. Have no idea what the Fuji is on, probably M111 or M9 I would think for my area, picked it up at a big box store (one of the few - got it really cheap). Thanks for the tip, harvestman. I'll go down and look at the branches.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:28PM
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I never did find out what the rootstock is. I have the nursery name that it was originally purchased from but it's been a several years now and they didn't know.

Although while talking to the nursery person about my Fuji, he said just cut back the new growth 50%, and do it during the growing season also.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 4:20PM
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alan haigh

Do not listen to the nursery person- that's no way to prune most apples and especially not Fuji. If you keep cutting back new growth 50% you will wait forever for the thing to fruit and have crazy vegetative growth zig-zagging everywhere.

There are a some lanky varieties that you can prune that way to get the branches stiffer and encourage secondary wood but it would make a Fuji very, very slow to bear. Even trees that you might do that in the early training process you'd stop as soon as possible. For a bearing tree you generally only cut back branches to at least 2-year wood and to a small branch.

You'd be exceptionally lucky to find someone working at a nursery that knew anything about pruning fruit trees. I've never met one in my entire life.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Yup agree with harvestman.. based on my personal experience.. you'll wait forever if you prune heavily fuji apple tree.., now my fuji apple new growth is on it's way to a second year, and I'm beginning to see a few flowering bud , after I last year incident, when I'm really blind about pruning this kind of varieties, now I can learn about this fuji characteristic , this year I think I can harvest some fruit of it

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:29AM
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alan haigh

Also Fuji is not predominantly a tip bearer like, say, Yellow Transparent. It produces flowers on many stages of wood and produces spurs. Some years it does produce fruit on the tips of last years shoots but that doesn't make it a true tip bearer as that's not where most flowers form.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:12PM
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