Dorothy is a Master Gardener, former newspaper reporter, and the author of several books. Michael is a landscape/nature photographer in NM.
Folks in Washington State Know Apples
At one time we had three apple trees in our backyard but had no idea how to make them produce apples that were actually edible. Later, after moving to Washington state, we learned that if there's one thing they know how to do in Washington, it's growing delicious apples!
About half of all the apples grown in America are grown in Washington state This article will show you how to grow my very favorite apple tree - the Fuji apple, which is about the size of a baseball. They contain about 10% sugar and are tasty, tasty, tasty! Washington state produces around 150,000 tons of Fuji apples each year.
There Are Two Ways to Grow Fuji Apple Trees
The Slow Way - Let me start by saying that if you plant and grow your tree from seeds, you are selecting the slow route, and it could take many years to mature enough to produce fruit. If that's what you want to do, however, this is the way to do it:
- Keep some apple seeds (10-12 seeds) in the middle of a moistened paper towel. Fold the towel up and place on a saucer in your refrigerator.
- Check it daily and keep the seeds moist at all times (not wet - moist). If the paper towel is dripping water, it is too wet.
- In about 7-10 days, your seeds will sprout and you can place them in a container of potting soil. Don't put them outside in the ground until they have sprouted, or you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I like to use Miracle Gro potting soil, and I like to start my trees in a container so I can baby them a little bit while they are growing up.
- Put your sprouted seeds in potting soil in a one-gallon container and water it to get your seeds settled in.
- Set it in a sunny window if you want to keep it inside for a while longer, or set the pot outside, close enough to your back door so that you can keep an eye on it. I move my plants that are in containers a lot to afford them the best of whatever the weather is dishing up. If it's sunny, but not steamy hot, set your container out in the sun for several hours a day. If it's raining outside, set your container so that it can only get a little bit of rain instead of a good drenching.
- After your seed becomes a tiny little tree, you can put it in its permanent home in the yard. Now, be prepared to wait for about 8-10 years, because that's how long it will take before your seeds become Fuji apple-producing trees.
The Fast (and Best) Way - My best recommendation is to eliminate all of the above steps and buy yourself a healthy, young Fuji apple tree and plant it in the fall when it is in a dormant state. I would still put a young tree in a five-gallon container just to make sure it is growing up properly under my watchful eye (near my house). Sometimes if you plant them out in the back of your yard, they tend to get forgotten.
- If you decide to start with a young Fuji apple tree, try to find the healthiest one you can with the strongest rootstock. They are usually sold bare-root, so pay more attention to the roots than you do the stems, as it is the rootstock that determines the size your tree will be and its resistance to pests.
- Keep your roots nice and moist until they are planted.
- Plant your young tree outside in the fall when it is in a dormant state. (Apple trees are deciduous, so they will lose their leaves in the fall - when the leaves are gone on your young tree, it is ready to be planted).
Your apple tree will want four to six hours of sunshine a day (when Mother Nature cooperates), but it will also need a few hundred hours of chilling in temperatures about 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold temperatures encourage normal growth during the season when the tree is growing and not dormant. If you live in Washington state, Mother Nature knows just what to do for your apples!
Tips & Warnings
- Dig a hole outside large enough to be able to accommodate the rootstock, and spread the roots out to keep them from growing up in a big tangled mess.
- When you replace the soil on top of the roots, press down enough to ensure that the roots are touching soil in all places.
- Once planted, water your tree thoroughly and spread mulch around it to aid in moisture retention and to keep the roots safe from severe, cold weather.
- Fuji apple trees bloom in mid to late Spring.
- Start making lots of friends and learn to bake apple pies, because when Fuji apple trees start producing fruit, you won't be able to eat them fast enough.
They Are Beautiful and Tasty
Fuji Apple Trees in Japan
Fuji apples originated as a cross between two American apple varieties - the Red Delicious and old Virginia Ralls Genet.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have a Fuji tree that I grew from seed about ten years ago. The good news is that it produces a lot of fruit. The bad news is that they are the size of a cherry. Do you have any thoughts?
Answer: Fuji trees are not self-fertile. You need another apple tree close by for pollination. I would thin the fruit out too and make sure the tree is getting enough water. Check out trees to plant near your Fuji on Google.
Question: What apple tree should be planted with a Fuji for pollination?
Answer: Click on this link, which I think explains the choices much better than I could, so I always refer people to it:
© 2011 Mike and Dorothy McKenney
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on May 17, 2020:
I don't believe the Fuji apple trees can survive those temperatures. Sorry, wish I had better news.
Dave Swaine on May 11, 2020:
I would like to plant Fuji apple trees in the north section of Michigan. The temperature in the winter can go down to 20 degrees below 0.
Would the Fuji trees be ok in this climate?
Lyndsay McCarthy on January 21, 2020:
Bought a house that has a fuji tree in the yard. Had fabulous apples on it. Now that the leaves have fallen, how do i prep it for next year so i get fruit? I live in Southern California
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on August 27, 2018:
I'm sorry, I don't understand.
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on August 27, 2018:
I'm sorry. I don't understand.
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on April 10, 2018:
I'm going to have to be honest and say that I just don't know, but I suspect you may be right about it. So sorry I couldn't be more help. Perhaps other readers might care to chime in on this question?
Sonja Hohnhorst on April 09, 2018:
Hi. I have a fuji tree and get a ton of juicy, sweet apples every other year. The only bad thing is that the skin is an odd coloring, a mix of green, red, and dark spots of green scattered. There is a crab apple tree down the road. Would that have anything to do with the look of my apples?
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on March 12, 2018:
Jack in Illinois: The trees do need to be near another tree and this is a great article telling what the choices are:
Jack in Illinois on March 11, 2018:
Do fuji trees need another apple tree to produce apples?
Apple Nut on January 25, 2018:
I assume that everyone knows that apples don't "grow true" from seed. Fuji apple seeds WILL NOT grow true Fuji apples.
Edonnex on December 09, 2017:
Thanks for this great article.
How long does it take for the fast approach to mature?
How much is the cost per the young Fuji apple tree?
Can it grow in West Africa?
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on September 21, 2017:
Cheyenne: I'm not sure I can answer that question, but this is a great article on the question:
Cheyenne arbogast on September 21, 2017:
Are there more seeds in fugi apples or washington apples
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on July 11, 2017:
Audrey: I would think so. We lived in Arkansas and I had a nice apple tree in my back yard. Read this article that I found:
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 10, 2017:
Love Fujis! Enjoyed this hub so filled with wonderful information. Wondering if Nashville, Tn. is ok for growing apples.
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on April 21, 2012:
Probably so, according to the apple experts up here in Washington state. Maybe, however, you'll be one of the lucky ones and your apples will appear in two years instead of four. Sorry I can't be more encouraging...lol.
CarpetDiem from Southern California on April 05, 2012:
Great hub! Where did you get the info that it takes 8-10 years to get an apple when you start from seed? I planted a seed about 4 years ago on a whim. It's a nice little tree now, but no apples yet. Do I really have to wait another 4 years???
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on May 23, 2011:
Thank you very much for stopping by to check out my newest article!
souleru on May 23, 2011:
Very informative hub!