I have a set of four two-year-old trees on M9 rootstock. All beautifully bush shaped, healthy, and growing well. They were pruned mid winter following standard advice for young bush trees. At this age they are young and small and I expected to see a couple of more year's growth and a larger framework before they started fruiting. But this spring the precocious little blighters are covered in blossom although they are really not yet strong enough to support a crop. I was aware of the dwarfing properties of M9 stock but most books suggest first fruit in the third or fourth year and perhaps full fruiting by year five.
I intend to remove any fruit that sets, as I fear the tree may otherwise "mature" into full fruiting stage while far too small, and cease getting much bigger. They currently stand between 4 ft and 4 ft 6 in high with about 3ft clear stem and each has between 3 and 5 primary branches. Four varieties, all the same pollination group and all blossoming in the same way.
The books have lots of advice on what to do about too much leaf and stem growth with little or no blossom and fruit, but does anyone know of the best thing to do in the opposite situation? I'm thinking it would be better to forgo any fruit for a couple of years to get a larger overall tree and bigger yields later. So advice from experienced apple growers would be most appreciated.