HoneyCrisp apples .... ?zone 7

vieja_gw(z7NM)November 9, 2013

Just bought the first HoneyCrisp apples in the store as they were on sale; huge, not so pretty apples but once I tasted them I loved the taste!! Now I'd like to plant a dwarf HoneyCrisp tree but find it is not recommended for my USDA zone 7 area ... why... too warm? We are at 5200 ft. elevation in high desert. Has gotten to minus 19 degrees a few times and many years it doesn't get to 100 degrees days, cooler nights ( mile high elevation). Rainfall about 8 inches a year so we irrigate everything. Would appreciate any input from anyone who has grown this apple variety! We grow dwarf Fuji, Haralson & Cameo successfully here.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Applenut likes it in Riverside, CA, hotter than you or I. It's a weak grower so get it on something like MM 111.

I had my first eatable one after three tries at ~10 brix. The better one was 13.8 brix. I still don't much care for it but the last one was a bit green. I'd never pay the $4.99 a lb they wanted. First day they were $0.99/lb. That's about what they're worth if you get a good one, IMO.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 20:59

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 7:46PM
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I now also see it has some disease problems in hotter areas! Because they were 99 cents a pound at Walmart, we bought some to try; not sure what rootstalk they would have been on but we did like the large size & juicy flavor; color nothing too beautiful though! We would have to have one of the dwarf sizes though for our property, Odd, I had always thought most apples required winter cold to do best! (I come from western Wisconsin/NE Iowa area).
Thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Definitely not too cold as it is developed in Minnesota. But grows well in Riverside Ca (zone 9b-10). I would pick M111 which really seems to be a fantastic rootstock for the entire nation from the trends I am seeing.

As for diseases I am not sure which ones they are taking about. Most can be dealt with if they in fact exist in your area.

"Honeycrisp University of Minnesota, 1962 Yes, you're reading right; the same Honeycrisp you see in the supermarket. Word is spreading like wildfire that it does very well in hot climates, and the ones we picked from our orchard this year were WONDERFUL! It was a stinking hot September, well over 100 since Labor Day, but the apples we picked were sweet, juicy, very crisp, a bit denser than in the store, but very, very nice with not a mark on them. Oddly enough it is famous for being hardy though the bitter winters of the upper Midwest, but it is not the first Northern apple to do well here (see Wealthy). It ripens in late September to early October, and keeps very well in the refrigerator. It has good pollen and is partly self-fertile, and will pollinate other trees. We're proud to be one of the first nurseries to list it as tested good for Southern California. (Sorry U of M, the patent ran out last year)"

Here is a link that might be useful: Riverside apple list notes

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 8:47PM
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I've read that Honeycrisp requires cool nights while ripening to develop good flavor.

I have two trees. If I let them hang a long time they get sweeter but lose some of the characteristic crisp. I'm not nearly as enamored of them as a I was the first year I tried them.

I'm not sure if the commercial ones have gotten worse, or if my tastes have changed/matured. I suspect the latter.

I had a decent one the other night and I only ate half of it. I've been eating about 2 golden russets a day with non-astringent persimmons in between for a change of pace.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I bought bench grafts on M111 EMLA from Kuffel Creek nursery in Riverside, CA last spring. They were only 6 inches long when I got them, but now 6 feet tall. http://www.kuffelcreek.com/applenursery.htm

Kevin at KC says they do well in his area. We'll see how they do in my zone 9.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 9:50AM
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alan haigh

I wrote here that cool nights seem necessary but we had cool nights this season and Honeycrisp was not worth the effort of harvesting. By the time they finally got adequately sweet most had rotted. At normal picking time when seeds appeared mature they were big, beautiful but bland, bland, bland. I do have one site where they performed much better for reasons beyond my comprehension, although nearby forest trees sucking up surplus water might help.

What they must not like is constantly moist ground during ripening- or at least that is my current theory. This is not the kind of thing adequately researched, and farmers are able to sell bland Honeycrisp anyway because the market for them is so crazy.

If my theory is correct than this should be a fine apple for the west where irrigation is where most of your water comes from during the growing season, although this may not be the case in N.M.

Certainly disease issues will be reduced by any reduction in humidity. Besides rots, this is a grower friendly, early bearing apple. I also use 111 but haven't tried anything else but M7 which also worked fine but does not anchor as well.

I tasted Honeycrisp apples at a tasting of the Santa Cruz NAFEX meeting several years ago and I noticed very popular reaction. The apples must have been grown nearby.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 9:50AM
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alan haigh

But why purchase a benchgraft when you can get year older trees for nearly the same price? However much your tree grew the first season I believe it would be larger and closer to bearing if you'd started with a 3/4" caliber tree.

Nurseries that only sell bench grafts will tout the superiority of that method but having purchased trees both ways I personally prefer field grown, larger trees. There must be a reason that commercial growers will pay the price for a year older tree. In Europe, where land prices are higher, 2 year, well branched trees are popular with commercial growers. I'd buy them if they were available here from a reputable source.

Sorry organique, for contradicting you twice in 10 minutes, but in this case I think it is important even if it's just a case of two different opinions. At least it's about fruit trees and not climate.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:03PM
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benchgraft: cost $10, little shipping cost through US mail. More fragile scion...easy to break from nearby activity and more sensitive to environmental extremes...but frankly grows into them better.

1-2 yr bareroot: $30 plus shipping. Optional pre-soak and optional rooting hormone.

Two, benchgrafts "6 feet of growth first year!" [Though that certainly does vary, I think predominantly due to sunlight exposure; more = more.]

Bareroot, generally slower growth 1st year in ground recovering from transplant shock. [though that also varies]

Container: Form (pruning decisions) preset courtesy of nursery. Transport. Root bound potential---especially when looking at >3/4" caliper. Cost: $35 (5 gal, #5-#7) - $100+ for 15 gal or larger. Bigger = handling pain in the ass. Transplant shock.

Few OPs are commercial growers, and those that are are already considering a lot more newer methods to up profits per area per reduced time that would have been poo-pooed just a few years ago. Benchgrafted fruit trees may or may not fall into that category. But for most OPs that is not a consideration.

I have planted all three and frankly would prefer trying benchgrafts on everything...though I plant in a 5 gal. (late Jan-early March) and let grow out in the summer under the east side of a shade tree canopy for Oct. transplant. That negates some of my points above to a degree.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:46PM
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I am not offended ;) I am NOT an expert in this or almost any other matter (other than computer programming).

I really have no experience other than my first season. I only paid $10 a piece for my bench grafts, so I thought they were a little cheaper than next size up, especially when buying a lot of them and paying for shipping. My local nurseries don't carry a wide variety, so to get the ones I have, I would have to pay for shipping one way or another.

Also, Kuffel Creek really touts the idea that the rootstock they use will allow apples to be grown in regions where they normally do not do well. I have sampled apples from my neighbor's trees. They were excellent, and they were varieties that are not "supposed to" do well in our zone. I don't know of any nurseries that sell the varieties I have on that rootstock.

Also, I've heard theories that a bench graft will catch up to a larger bare root to the point that within three years of planting, one would not be able to tell the difference.

Again, not starting an argument here. Just sharing the information that I used to make my decisions. I may be completely misguided.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Burnt Ridge has them on a variety of rootstocks for a good price. I bought mine about 5 years ago on what is probably M7 from them. The size is good for my smaller area.

It is very spurry and productive. It was probably a 2 y.o. and took another 3 years to produce but it has more than made up for lost time. It can get bitter pit some years but not so much this year. Like Murky said, it hangs well on the tree so you can pick Sept - Oct.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 7:06PM
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alan haigh

Drew, if they were only $10, I can understand the attraction. That's a nice price for by the piece.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 7:31PM
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