The Fuji apple variety is a popular choice as it produces large apples that store well under refrigeration. The tree is hardy in growing zones 6 through 9, where the winters are mild. Fuji trees have a long growing season of approximately 160 days and require a chilling period of 100 to 400 cold hours to go into dormancy. The Fuji apples become ripe for harvest by mid-October.
Prepare a planting area that has well-draining soil and full sun light conditions. Work several inches of organic compost into the soil with a tiller to a depth of 15 inches.
Soak the tree roots for one hour in a bucket of water. Plant the tree in early spring while it is still in the dormant stage. Set the tree into a hole twice as wide as root structure, making sure the graft line on the lower trunk is 2 inches above the soil level.
Water the tree generously after planting to eliminate air pockets in the soil and stimulate root growth. Continue to water the tree on a weekly basis when the rainfall amounts are less than 1 inch per week.
Prune 1-year-old trees to create a central leader stem and scaffolding branches. Remove all but four to five branches evenly spaced around the central stem. The goal is to remove enough branch growth to create wide crotch angles on the branches. Prune the ends of the branches by 1/4 the size each year. This will stimulate new branching growth.
Prune 2-year-old trees to create a second layer of scaffold branches approximately 24 to 36 inches higher than the first set. Prune to create wide crotch angles on the branches.
Fertilize the Fuji apple tree one month after planting with one cup of 21-0-0 fertilizer spread in a 2-foot circle around the base of the tree. Repeat the application the following two months. Fertilize 2-year-old trees in April, June and July with one cup of 21-0-0 fertilizer spread in a 3-foot circle around the base of the tree. Fertilize mature trees with 1 lb. of 21-0-0 fertilizer for each inch the truck is in diameter at bud break.
Apply mulch around the tree, leaving a 1-foot gap between the tree trunk and start of the mulch. Place a rodent guard around the lower trunk of the tree to prevent damage from burrowing animals.
Thin fruit clusters when the apples are the size of a dime. The apples should be spaced 4 to 6 inches apart with one apple remaining per cluster. This will prevent damage to branches from heavy fruit production and increase the size of the apples.
Things You Will Need
- Organic compost
- Tree pruning clipper
- 21-0-0 fertilizer
- Do not purchase discounted apple tree stock that appears shriveled or dry.
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