Honeycrisp Apple Tree doesn't bloom

swede1234(4)May 13, 2013

What can I do to get blossoms on my dwarf Honeycrisp and Haral-Red apple trees? Both have been growing in my yard for close to 10 years. My yard is shady and these trees get direct sunlight in summer for only 5-6 hours/ day, but a previous Haralson tree growing in the same spot gave fruit yearly for many years.

I did get 4 blossoms on one of my two trees 3 yrs ago, and I got three apples on it then. I figured that would finally be the start of productive years, but nothing since.

Is there anything I can do to encourage them to produce? Or am I just doomed just to wait? Winter has been tough here in MN, and the snow just went away last week. All our trees are just starting to bud, and temperatures are shooting to 90 tomorrow, so we may finally be out of frost danger... Ya, Right!

Any suggestions or help would be great!

Thanks, Gary

"I think that I shall never see... a poem, as lovely as a tree..." Joyce Kilmer

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mrsg47(7)

Sounds like you really need more sun. Obviously over the years the out-lying trees have gotten taller and are shading your apples.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:32PM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

I have a 6-year old Honeycrisp that has yet to produce a single blossom. It is in the sun most of the day, only in shade in the morning until about 10:00am. It has hundreds of little spurs on it but they aren't flowering. I am beginning to worry that it will never bloom -- and just because of a little morning shade?! I really have to wonder about this. What a picky friggin variety if it is true.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Juderose22

I have a 6 year old tree as well. I had nothing, then one cluster of blossoms last year, and two this year. I think the whole thing is junk and plan on getting rid of it this year. What a waste, especially since my yard is too small for trees that don't do what they should.
I have a pear tree I've been espaliering for two years and a plum, and they're loaded, so at least I'll have something!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Some apples do take a little extra time. It took 8 years for my red Fuji to go into full production. Just give them a couple more years.

Tony

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 2:21PM
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mamuang_gw

My Honey Crisp was a potted tree bought from a local nursery with "semi-dwarf" rootstock, which did not tell me much. When I bought it in 2008, it must have been 2-3 yrs old tree.

Every year, I wondered why it did not flower. It is in the perfect location with sun from 9 am - the end of the day. Every year, there were many spurs to keep my hope up and they all turned out to be leaves spurs!!

I was running out of patience. Then, this year, right now, a few (total 8) of those spurs are flowering. 5 yrs in the ground plus at least 2 yrs in the nursery. This tree is at least 7 yrs old before it bloomed for me. Comparing to my William's Pride that bloomed in 2 yrs.

We seem to have the same issue of Honey Crisp taking its sweet time to be fruitful. I hope some of those blooms will develop into apples. It'd be maddening if they all drop!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:16PM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

Wow. I can't believe I never heard about this issue before. Here I was expecting my tree to fruit in the first 3-4 years, but now I'm hearing it takes a good 7+ years to fruit on semi-dwarf rootstock. Yikes. Okay, I guess I'll just be patient and wait another year or two. Meanwhile I am grafting a bunch of other varieties onto it as well, so I suppose maybe if I never get a Honeycrisp apple, I'll still get some other stuff. The Esopus Spitzenberg branch seems to be taking nicely. :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 2:33PM
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jhoss_2009

I'm curious if the branches were ever tied down on your HC? I trained branches horizontal on PixieCrunch and GoldRush and they both flowered year 3. I will be tying down a HoneyCrisp in the spring - I hear it helps get them fruiting.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:11PM
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alan haigh

I've never had such a problem with Honeycrisp and find it very cooperative as far as rapidly coming into productivity and setting fruit annually- and mine are on 111! I'm not talking about just a few trees either- they are a popular variety in my nursery.

However, I won't plant any fruit tree (besides paw paws) that get less than 6 hours of sun although I manage some. I've found there are certain varieties that do better in shade than others, so maybe this is a weakness of Honeycrisp unless you have been stubbing back branches when you prune. That can keep a tree vegetative almost indefinitely when done aggressively enough.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:17PM
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mamuang_gw

My mistake must have been pruning it hard. In the spring of 2011 (I think), not only I stubbing back branches, I chopped off one of the two competing main leaders!! Double bad, I guess. Still, by 2011, it was a 5 yrs old tree with not one fruit spur!!!

I've read about horizontal branches tends to produce fruit sooner, too. Although all the branches are branched out nicely, I will tie down some branches as an experiment. I'll do anything to get this darn tree to produce more fruit spurs.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 6:39PM
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camp10

Just another data point....

I have three HoneyCrisps. I planted them 6, 5, and 3 years ago.

The oldest one has been fruiting for several years and has a nice set of blossoms this year. The 5 year old tree fruited nicely last year, but this year doesn't have a single blossom....not one! The youngest tree had 3 or 4 sets of blossoms last year and about that many this year.

Of the dozen or so apple varieties that I have, the HC seems to be the most temperamental.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:45AM
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mayadawg(zone 9 san francisco)

I had the same problem with my honeycrisp. I assumed it was not enough chill hours? I believe they need 800+, my gala/Fuji/granny fruited in the shady spot with no problem. I was going to replace it with a pink lady that needs fewer chill hours.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:07PM
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insteng

I've got a Golden Dorsett that I planted this year. It was late budding out but it is covered with blooms right now. All of my fruit trees I've planted have bloomed by the second year at least. Usually I don't do much to my trees except let them grow and trim them a little when they grow too wild.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 12:06AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I got a Honeycrisp on G.11 rootstock in 2009. Last year I got 4 apples. My Pink Lady planted in 2010 on the same rootstock seems to think it's supposed to be in the Southern Hemisphere. It would NOT drop it's leaves last fall and now it looks as if all of last years growth is dead. The trunk above the graft looks alive but nothing else. If you're having trouble with Honeycrisp then maybe Pink Lady is the answer. I may have to yank mine.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 12:45AM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

Dang it, I am really starting to dislike Honeycrisp.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:45AM
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alan haigh

I've never heard of Honeycrisp being a problem as far as fruit set- it's getting that fruit to maturity in sound shape that is the problem discussed in the industry. It is extremely widely planted, why not google around and see if this has been an observed problem by growers that plant thousands of these trees?

Tree varieties suffer nutrient deficiencies in unreliable ways, inconsistent between varieties. Commercial growers usually go to great lengths to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Maybe some leaf analysis is in order if you can't get Honeycrisp to flower.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 10:00AM
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johnthecook

Last year i planted a honeycrisp from Home Depot it bloomed and lost it's buds, second year in the ground it had more flower buds and they seem to be pollinated and growing.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 1:08PM
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johnthecook

Last year I planted a honeycrisp from Home Depot it bloomed and lost it's buds, second year in the ground it had more flower buds and they seem to be pollinated and growing.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 1:09PM
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mamuang_gw

John,

Home Depot stores in my area do not offer a fancy apple variety like that. They have mostly McIntosh. Again, I don't buy fruit trees from them for fear of getting a mislabeld tree.

Part of my Honey Crisp's delay of fruit production could be because of my poor pruning but it should not be the only reason. This was the first year it flowered. The 7 yrs old tree has a totally of 8 clusters of flowers!!! So far, there are 8 fruitlets that look like they will make it.

To add salt to the injury, people also say Honey Crisp has a tendency to be biennial. This is one of the largest tree in my small/young orchard. If next year it does not earn its keep, I may graft other varieties on it instead.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 5:44PM
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johnthecook

It's hard to pass on healthy trees at Home Depot. I have bought from local nurseries, on line nurseries and Home Depot and Lowes. One from Home Depot was a granny instead of a golden delicious and one from a local nursery was supposed to be a Mac and I still don't know what it is.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 7:13PM
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johnthecook

It's hard to pass on healthy trees at Home Depot. I have bought from local nurseries, on line nurseries and Home Depot and Lowes. One from Home Depot was a granny instead of a golden delicious and one from a local nursery was supposed to be a Mac and I still don't know what it is.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 7:14PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Honeycrisp are $3.49 lb. here!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 9:55PM
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alan haigh

There is so much work involved in getting a tree to maturity and managing its fruit that for most people it's better in the long run to buy trees from a reliable source where you know the rootstock and the scion is reliably true to label.

I do love a bargain, and often pay dearly for the quest- say by buying workboots on-line at huge discounts and discovering their being dumped at a cheap price because of a fatal flaw in their production but I'll never even consider buying a fruit tree from an unreliable source. It is just too heart breaking to find out 4 years later or sometimes more that you've been sold a bogus labeled tree.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:27AM
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johnthecook

Very true Harvestman. I still wonder about the rootstock on my big box store trees, but I have some nice Macs, winesap, Jonagold, Golden delicious, Anna, Liberty and honeycrisp that have given me apples in the second year. Time will tell if they disappoint me. they were a good beginner lesson for me while my macoun, zestar, ashmeads, Golden Russet, Crimson Crisp, Crimson Gold, Northern Spy, and Gold Rush that I bought on line come into their own. I would never have begun by ordering on line so in a way the big box stores have been good to on line purchases, they gave me a taste of what was out there.

This post was edited by johnthecook on Sun, May 26, 13 at 8:56

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:55AM
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alan haigh

Well, the boots I'm wearing today are very well made, breathably water-proof by a well known maker that were a wonderful bargain. Just because I have to return every third bargain I purchase doesn't mean I don't get lucky more often than disappointed.

I've heard of Home Depot customers being very pleased with the purchases of fruit trees they've made. I just get more annoyed by the bad luck in this area than other purchases I make. Last broccoli I bought from Home Depot was cauliflower. Blame myself though, if I'd been paying attention I'd have seen the difference before buying.

Even generally reliable nurseries make their share of mistakes. For several years Adams sold a J. plum variety as Green Gage and justified it by saying that most Green Gages available from other nurseries aren't true to name either and at least the plums of this variety looks like Green Gage and is easier to grow. Now that their retail customers are more savvy I don't think they do that kind of thing anymore, however.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:32AM
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johnthecook

I should also give Kudos to you and others on this site. I knew nothing before reading things here and using what I learned on my trees. Also Stephen Hayes of the united Kingdom and Jon Clements in my state of Massachusetts. Without these tools I never would of even bought a apple tree from a big box store.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 10:22AM
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athenainwi

I've had my Honeycrisp tree on dwarf rootstock for about five years and it started blooming when it was two. Last year it didn't bloom but that was likely due to rabbit damage. This year it bloomed well and it looks like I'll get a bunch of apples if I can keep the PC from getting them.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:37PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I'm on the 7th year with a Fuji that was probably 2-3 years old when I planted it. Just this year it has produced more than ONE apple. There's about a dozen apples on it. I'm learning too and it seems patience is a factor many of us didn't put enough of it in the equation for. I did fertilize with blooming and rooting fertilizer in February and noticed a LOT more blossoms on it (and the McIntosh, same age, though about 40 apples on it). I'd say wait another year or two. I am hoping next year production is amped up. This year has been an excellent start (FINALLY)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:10AM
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alan haigh

Fuji is a challenge on vigorous rootstocks. It produces over sized branches that stay vegetative for a long time if they aren't removed early in the training process. They also need to have branches thinned earlier than other varieties, it seems, so spurs get adequate light to form flower buds.

Up here they are difficult to get annual production even for commercial growers using chemical thinners and intense nutrient management.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:46AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

We planted a honeycrisp last year. Now I'm worried. I wasn't expecting fruit this year, but was hoping maybe next year.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:05AM
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spartan-apple

I lived in MInnesota when Honeycrisp first came out. Actually I got it before it came out at U OF MN brought it to the nursery I was working at and asked us to grow it
after signing the propagation agreement.

I sold many Honeycrisp to a friend starting an orchard. Luckily he heeded my advice on what was a new variety and make a lot of money since he was the first at the
St. Paul farmer's market to offer Honeycrisp apples for sale.

I do recall Honeycrisp being a wimpy grower and somewhat biennial bearing. It also gets giant fruit that are prone to bitter pit/water core so I would not thin it as
heavily as other varieties. Smaller size fruit is the way to
go on this variety.

I planted some out last year on M7 rootstock. After reading all the reports about Honeycrisp not fruiting, I wonder what rootstocks everyone is using? Perhaps a more vigorous rootstock is the way to go? Please post the rootstock you are having trouble with if you can so we can all learn what rootstock not to grow this variety on.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:22PM
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daemon2525(5)

I have Honeycrisp that I am going to call 3 years old.
I have had them in the ground one year and they are LOADED with apples. I had to thin nearly all of them.
I left about 40 on each little tree.. They are on BUD9

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:36PM
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alan haigh

At my nursery I use 111 and it is quite precocious even on this stock. There is something else going on here besides the variety, IMO.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 4:21PM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

My Honeycrisp tree is on unknown rootstock. I got the dang thing from Lowe's and I couldn't find a graft union at all when I planted it. So it's entirely possible that I have a mislabeled standard size tree of unknown origin. Dang Lowe's... buyer beware...

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:52AM
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swede1234(4)

Thanks to all of you for the great input... I love this site, where experts like some of you, and humble novices like me can trade thoughts and information...

Amazingly enough, I guess my prayers were all I needed, as both trees now have blossoms! Now, perhaps you guys can suggest natural ways to keep the pests off them... I won't use commercial pesticides..

Take care, Gary

"Never beat around the bush... You'll just squash the berries!"

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:36PM
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mamuang_gw

Gary,

I think you'll need more than prayers.

You'll find out there are many reasons why fruit trees don't bloom (or don't bloom sooner). My problem probably because of ignorant pruning. I also I don't know the rootstock (it's one of my first few trees I bought before I've smartened up.)

For apples, an easy way to avoid spraying for bugs is to bag them. Search this forum on a topic of bagging apples. Some people have posted pictures and described their bagging techniques. It's easy and effective.

"I won't use commercial pesticides". Don't we all wish that? There are ways to grow apple organically. Some contributors here do. Read up old posts on the topic. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:30PM
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swede1234(4)

Thanks to all who helped me with my questions about getting my Honeycrisp to bloom. I finally got apples this year (about 15 of them), but they were all bad, with dots and dimples in them, the insides were all brown. I had to throw them away. I have a Haral-Red tree right next to my honeycrisp which first bloomed this year too, but those apples did not have the same problem.

Can anyone tell me what went wrong, and what I can do next year to solve the problem? I can send pictures to show you what they look like.

Thanks, Gary

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 9:33AM
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applenut_gw

I can assure you it's not a chilling-hour problem; Honeycrisp will fruit just fine on our 250 chilling hours, and we're trying it out in Uganda too on zero chilling hours. Shade is the biggest hindrance for an apple tree not fruiting, they like lots of sun.

That's Honeycrisp seedlings in the sack in the middle, the neighborhood kids at this church in northern Uganda getting their first taste of an apple (Gala).

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 11:43AM
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mamuang_gw

Swede,

Google "bitter pit in apples". Also Google "brown marmorated stink bug damages on apples."

Your Honey Crisp apples may suffer from one of these issues. I lean toward a bitter pit issue since your nearby Haral-Red is not affected.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 3:05PM
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gunner1966

This is not an easy apple for the home Gardner to grow, I work on a 600 acre apple farm in Washington state,we grow 10 verity's of apples,the honeycrisp is the most challenging,ph test are done all summer,not hard to adjust, but we spray calcium once a week during apple growth, to prevent bitter pit, BIG problem for the home Gardner,There are many reasons your tree is not producing,If you want a very forgiving apple tree,sweet beautiful and easy to grow,the Ambrosia

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:59AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

OK, we're now on the third year of the honeycrisp and there are no apples. It got only a few blooms, but no fruit developed. Meanwhile, the snow apple, which was purchased as a polinator, has a number of apples.

I haven't fertilized any of my fruit trees (a peach and two cherries in addition to the apples). Maybe this is the problem with the honeycrisp. The cherries aren't producing, either, but I didn't expect them to this soon. The sweet one was decimated by japanese beetles last year and the sour is a standard not a dwarf or semi-dwarf so I expect it's got more years of growing before it produces fruit. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that and should be doing something to encourage fruiting (besides spraying, which we are doing for the first time this year).

This is an extremely helpful forum. Thanks to everyone for their input.

Caryl

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 2:18PM
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home_grower(SoCal Z9 S18)

We had very low chill hours this year. At 336 it was half of what we normally get. I planted a small whip of a Honeycrisp bare root in Jan 2013. It didnâÂÂt even start to leaf out until a few weeks ago. It did have a few flowers bloom on the top branch but I wasnâÂÂt expecting anything from it by reading this thread.
Today I was watering my trees and did a double take when I saw this.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 2:48AM
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iowajer

That will probably fall off on its own, but if it doesn't I'd remove it.

I had the same thing on a damaged Goldrush tree. When I received it last year it was broken in-transit. I got a replacement, but pruned it back to a stub of a few inches and then went on ahead and planted it.

It blossomed this year and set a fruit like that, next day I headed over to snap a picture of it and it had fallen off already.

But I had no plans of letting that li'l fella try to make an apple that young anyway.

I have a Honeycrisp that showed a few blossoms this year but didn't set any fruit. It's a 7 year tree, so you're way ahead of me!!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:34PM
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