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Fuji Apple- Low chill???

Fuji Apple- Low chill???

has anyone had experience with either the fuji or red fuji as a low chill apple? I am about to axe mine. Leaf-out is erratic and fruit (if any)is small and late. thanks

The following thread was started by ED on July 17, 2009 at 9:05 am PST


Fuji, Red Fuji, Braeburn, Elstar, Anna, Dorset Golden, are all low chil - but not no chill. My Red Fuji took a long time to bear, bore mostly at the terminial buds (pruned or un-pruned). They tended to be smallish and late, but very much worth the effort, taste wise. My coldest temps are 2-3 nights at 38F and not too many nights below 45F.

The above followup was added by pitangadiego on July 17, 2009 at 11:11 am PST.

Yes and no - apples and chill

I would not lump Fuji with Anna and Dorsett Golden. The latter two are authentic low chill apples that requires very few hours of cold, 100 hours or even less. They can be grown all the way into Sunset zone 24 without any trouble.

Fuji, Braeburn, and Elstar are in a group along with Winter banana, white Winter pearmain and a few others that require more chill, more like 300 hours. In terms of Sunset zones, they are growable in Sunset zone 22 and below.

If you try to grow the second group in zone 23 and 24, you will get the classic symptoms of low chill:
- a lot of blind wood (unopened buds in between the crotch and the end terminal),
- lack of vigor,
- small fruit,
- much delayed bloom and hence very, very late crops
- bloom over a long period of time
- growth mainly on the terminal buds and on pruning cuts.

of course, depending on the degree of lack of chill, you will get more or less of these symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms are tolerable, in others, might as well call it quits.

I am in an area of medium to high chill (600-1000 hours) and on warmer years, some of my apples exhibit mild versions of these symptoms.

I do grow three very very high chill apples that show extreme symptoms of lack of chill: "Noel des Champs", "Reinette D'armorique" and "Bedans des pars", it's mid July and these have not yet broken bud yet. They are European cider apples that have a lot of European wild apple in them, so they are in a class of their own in terms of chill requirements. They are in their second year, they may not work here, in which case they will get yanked.

To better illustrate, let me post some pictures. The following are all apple trees growing near downtown Riverside, where it's 100F+ in the Summer, and Winters are warm, but they get enough chill to get by with Fuji. It's most likely Sunset zone 20, perhaps Sunset zone 18 even.

The first picture is the Dorsett Golden apple. This one was just about ripe at the beginning of June thanks to all the heat they have down there. Note the vigor of the tree.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm PST.

Anna in Socal

Anna is the other standard low chill apple, it's an excellent flavored apple, not aromatic like Dorsett Golden, but has a better sweet/acid balance, and is also a bit crisper and more heat resistant.

Again, notice how healthy the tree is.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm PST.

Fuji in Riverside

Now take a look at this Fuji tree. It's a very healthy tree for Southern California, it's shielded from the southwest, and in those areas where it's grown above the fence, you can see the signs of lack of chill.

Notice the "blind wood", all those unopened buds, more pronounced in the areas high up in the tree above the fence line, and thus more sun exposed in the Winter.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm PST.

Image of symptoms of lack of chill: newtown pippin

Newtown pippin is a staple tree in Santa Cruz county, it used to be one of the primary commercial apples of this area, and it grows very well here. However, in Riverside, even though they get some chill there, it's clearly not enough for newtown pippin, this apple truly looks unhappy and displays all the classic symptoms of lack of chill.

It's really a sad looking tree, not a single fruit on it.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm PST.

Another example of lack of chill

Below is another picture of an apple variety that isn't getting enough chill. Notice how close together the buds are, and how many branches haven't even broken dormancy yet.

The owner says this tree produces delicious apples despite the lack of chill. Production is erratic and spread out over a long period of time,. but it does produce.

The short of it is that some varieties will be more forgiving than others. I was told the lack of chill pushes out the bloom period all the way out to the middle of Summer for several apple varieties. That's very late, and it makes for a late harvest.

However, in Southern California, very late apples are what you want, because the quality will be far superior late in the year when the apples ripen in cooler temperatures.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm PST.

Fuji in Malibu produced good apples

I was at the foot of a canyon, a five minute walk from the beach. I had an Apricot tree that often had lots of fruit so there must have been at least 300 hours of chill although a Royal apricot next door rarely had fruit. After five years it had good sized apples that were really tasty. The tree wasn't as full leafed as some of the ones Axel has shown above, but it also wasn't as bad as the Newton Pippin photo. It was 8 feet tall and seemed to be coming into it's own. When I moved up into the upper canyon it didn't survive the transplant.

Axel, the Newton Pippin is one apple that I really want to plant. What do you think is it's minimum chill requirement to produce a healthy full leafed tree. I have enough chill that a young Fay Elberta had fruit this year. I think that's 7-800 chill hours.

The above followup was added by John 9b Topanga, Ca on July 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm PST.

Just try it out

I wouldn't recommend it based on what i saw in Riverside, i would think Riverside is probably as cold in the Winter as you are.

But try it out, and see what happens. If you grow it where you have full Winter shade, you have a better chance.

Why do you want this one? I don't consider it to be choice. It's good, but not choice. There are many much better quality apples that would do well for you.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm PST.

awesome follow-ups!!

thankyou again for the great follows....I actually have 2 Annas which do quite well. I did "AXEL" my Pettingill....based on Axel's past help....ha. I am still waiting on the jury for my Winter Banana. Any experience with this?

The above followup was added by Ed on July 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm PST.

Winter banana

Winter bananas are quite tasty, but you have to pick them at the right time. They are very heat sensitive, and will go mealy quickly. Even here where it's cool we harvest them a little before they are fully ripe otherwise they won't store. But the best ones are the ones that reach their prime on the tree. They might not have any shelf life then, but eating them right off the tree is a treat. They are richly flavored.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm PST.

Wow!! Axel ,super pic's and explaination!

Great explaination of low and lack of chill on various chill rated apples. Now I no for sure why some of my apples look the way they do!!! Thank's Axel.

The above followup was added by Scotty in A.G. on July 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm PST.


I would agree that Dorsett Golden and Anna require less chil than the others - but my point was, you would be hard pressed to find 100 chill hours where I am. No apricot other than royal even flowered here (Tried Tilton, Katy, Moorpark, and several other grafts, too) . Somthe Red Fuji, wich did bear fruit can't require much chill. I have Asian Pears which are listed as 400-800 hours, and yet they fruit here, some more, some less. So, don't believe all the chil requirements you read, give it a try, and have fun in the process. Experimenting is part of the fun. If you only go with bullet0-proof-safe stuff, you will miss outr on a lot.

The above followup was added by pitangadiego on July 17, 2009 at 10:57 pm PST.

Great Pictorial Information, Axel

And thanks for the taking the trouble to photograph it and post it. Proves again that one picture is worth a thousand words.

The image of the Fuji in Riverside says so much with its branches exposed above the fence shade showing blind wood while its shaded branches below the fence are full leafed and vigorous.

From this I learned that my Adina probably has to go bye bye. Poor thing. Because my Fuji does so well, I'll top work the Adina over to Fuji.

My Anna and Golden Dorset behave just the way Axel described. Anna is good and crisp and juicy and flavorful. I have to pick the GD a bit early because they get mealy quite quickly in the late June heat. In fact, if it weren't the pollinator for Anna, I'd top work it over to Fuji as well.

The above followup was added by Tony in Burbank on July 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm PST.

Axel; does defoliating help?

I have read that apples may be grown in low chill areas simply by defoliating them to induce a dormancy followed by a flowering.

I live in an area with 500-600 hours of chill and have planted quite a few heritage English varieties so I am wondering if this technique could help those that prefer more chill.

The above followup was added by Lachlann, Sth Coast, NSW on July 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm PST.

Not really

Defoliating works on the low chill varieties because they are low chill - because they don't need much to go dormant.. Defoliation has no advantage on high chill varieties other than keeping disease down.

500-600 hours is a decent amount and most apples are quite happy with that so I would not sweat it. I have lots of English heirlooms and they do fine even on the warm years when we only get 600 hours.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm PST.

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