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Should I remove small apples forming on my new apple tree?

Question

Asked by: Ray  from Hampshire, 07-Jun-2017

I've got a lot of small apple fruitlets forming on the apple trees I purchased from you this spring, should I pick them off?

Answer

Having just checked your order I can see you bought some 1-year trees on a dwarf (M9) rootstock.

It is not unusual for dwarf apple trees to blossom in their first or second years, as they are naturally precocious - and it is a good sign in some ways because it means the tree has established itself and is happy in its new environment. However it is quite important to remove the fruitlets in early June, if it doesn't happen naturally (a process known as the "June drop").

This is because dwarf trees can stop growing before they have reached full-size if you let them set too much fruit, which will mean they will never crop as heavily as they are capable of. You will get much better results in the longer term if you encourage dwarf trees to grow rather than fruit in the first 2 years.