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The Mutsu apple from Japan may seem exotic, until you realize that one of its parents is our own all-American Golden Delicious, which lends its yellow color and much of its flavor to the fruit. Also known as Crispin, the Mutsu apple is a delightfully sweet, crunchy, and spicy dessert apple that makes for a refreshing snack straight from the tree. You’ll also find it superb in cider, sauce, muffins, cakes, and of course, apple pie. In Japan, this revered variety is nicknamed the “Million Dollar Apple,” and its flavor commands top dollar at the market. You’ll surely find that this tree will give you a sweet return on your investment!
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
- Spacing: 12-15'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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Rebranded as the “Crispin” apple in the 1960s to have more appeal to English speakers in the West, the Mutsu Apple originated in the Mutsu Province of Japan in the 1930s. To create the hybrid, researchers crossed two Apple Trees that actually had their roots in the U.S. One parent was Golden Delicious, which arose in West Virginia in 1905. The other was Indo, a sweet variety brought to Japan by an Indiana missionary named John Ing in the 1870s. John Ing was sort of the Johnny Appleseed of Japan. Before he arrived, the Japanese had only known the tiny, sour crabapples that grew on their native Flowering Crabapple Trees. They had never known the joy of biting into a large, sweet eating apple.
The Mutsu/Crispin apple is a big, satisfying apple. This is a good one for slicing and sharing (try it with peanut butter or cheese); its white flesh doesn’t brown as quickly as that of other apples. It’s also a wonderful cooking apple. Because of its large size, it’s sometimes called the “oven buster.” While you’re deciding what to do with your extra Mutsus, they do keep well in the fridge for an extended period of time.
How to Grow
Growing Apple Trees requires a bit of know-how, as these trees are subject to more pest and disease issues than other trees, but our expert growers are standing by at firstname.lastname@example.org to help if you have any questions. You’ll want to plant your Mutsu Apple in a sunny location with good air circulation and fertile, well-drained soil. Regular water during establishment and times of drought will help your tree form a strong, healthy root system. As with most Apple Trees, you’ll need another Apple or Crabapple Tree nearby to pollinate its flowers for fruiting to take place. Because Mutsu is what is known as a triploid plant, however, it cannot pollinate another tree in return.
Questions & Answers
Q: How large with the Mutsu Apple be when mature?
A: We grow our Mutsu Apples on a semi-dwarfing rootstock (S-M7). This will give you an apple that will grow 12-15' in height and width before pruning to form. You can expect a substantial harvest in 3 to 5 years using this rootstock, or about 3 years after planted at your home.
Q: What other variety of Apple do I need to pollinate my Mutsu Apple?
One note to make is that the Mutsu Apple is what we call a triploid - meaning it has three chromosomes as opposed to two (like most other Apples). This means that it will not pollinate any other Apple - it is 'sterile'. If you plant a Mutsu, two other Apple Trees are required nearby, each of different varieties, which can cross-pollinate each other as well as the triploid Tree. This might sway you from growing triploid varieties, but they have many advantages including very good disease resistance!
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