How to Grow Fuji Apple Trees
They Are Beautiful and Tasty
Washington State Folks Sure Do Know How to Grow Great Apples
When I lived in Harrison, Arkansas, I had three apple trees in my back yard and had no idea how to make them produce apples that were actually edible. But, having moved a few thousand miles up to Washington state, I have learned that, if there's one thing they know how to do in Washington, it's grow 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.
The Slow Way and the Fast Way to Grow Fuji Apples
- 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!
Just in Case You Choose the Slow Way to Grow Fuji Apple Trees
Fuji Apple Trees in Japan
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.
© 2011 Mike and Dorothy McKenney