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CTurtleGirl
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when to pick apples

When I moved into my house I inherited an out of control very old apple tree. I had it pruned way back and the guy said it was a dwarf variety that had gotten out of control. Well I've gotten apples on it before but not many but this year there are a ton. It is a green apple of some sort but I don't know what kind it is. I'm pretty sure its not a granny smith. I don't know when a good time is to pick it and know when the apple is ripe enough. I picked one today and it seemed sour to me but I don't know if thats just the variety it is (maybe a baking apple variety) Can anyone help? Thanks!

CTG

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applestar
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I'm still trying to figure this out myself :wink: It would help greatly if you knew what variety your apple tree is because apples mature anywhere from July through November. I know a source for fruit tree variety maturing schedule in Pennsylvania, which is close enough to guide me in NJ, but I'm SURE you could find one for Washington State -- maybe your Ag extension website.

So, here's ONE method: I planted an apple tree called Pristine last fall that's supposed to ripen mid-July. Every day since July 15th, I gently lifted up the apples (only 4 on a 4' tree this year) until they "fell" off into my hand. They were delicious! (I don't know if this works for every variety.)

If your tree has WAY too many apples -- ideally, the fruits should not touch each other and there shouldn't be more than 6 fruits per cluster. You can pick the still unripe apples and make apple butter. I posted my recipe [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16841&highlight=]here[/url]. Pick the blemished ones first. If there are any holes, inspect for bugs when you cut them up and discard any blemished or iffy areas.
Last edited by applestar on Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Kisal
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The way I tell is to test an apple every 5 to 7 days after they begin to look ripe. My tree is a Gravenstein, so I do have the color as a guide.

Watch your apples and see if they don't turn from a somewhat darker, dull sort of green, to a brighter green, perhaps with some hints of yellow. That would signal ripening to me, and then I'd begin the periodic taste tests. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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CTurtleGirl
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I don't know what variety they are cause it came with the house and my pruner didn't know either. I know the tree is probably about 50 years old or so. The fruit is green but not a glossy green like a granny smith. Before I would wait too long to pick and then they would all fall off. I'm going to try to get a pic with the camera phone to see if that helps.

CTG

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CTurtleGirl
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Heres the pic of them if that helps at all:

[img]https://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d32/CTurtleGirl/apples.jpg[/img]

cynthia_h
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When you waited "too long," and the fruit fell off, do you remember what color it was?

I go up to Walker's Apples in Graton (Sonoma County) every fall or every other fall. They grow over 30 varieties of apples, some of them very old.

A few of them have the conformation your apples do, but none of Walker's Apples with this conformation are green when ripe.

I have a couple of ideas, esp. if the tree is > 50 years old, but the color will make a difference.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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CTurtleGirl
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If I remember correctly they are greenish to slightly yellow when they fall. Oh yeah and if this helps the trunk is probably about a foot in diameter but I'm sure different growth rates would make that hard to determine age. I know my house was built in 1940 so the tree could be that old.

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Diane
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Re: when to pick apples

CTurtleGirl wrote:When I moved into my house I inherited an out of control very old apple tree. I had it pruned way back and the guy said it was a dwarf variety that had gotten out of control. Well I've gotten apples on it before but not many but this year there are a ton. It is a green apple of some sort but I don't know what kind it is. I'm pretty sure its not a granny smith. I don't know when a good time is to pick it and know when the apple is ripe enough. I picked one today and it seemed sour to me but I don't know if thats just the variety it is (maybe a baking apple variety) Can anyone help? Thanks!

CTG
I just did an image search and someone from Washington said they had an old Pippin apple tree. The apples looked green.
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

https://s600.photobucket.com/albums/tt87 ... G00047.jpg

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applestar
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Hmm. I would still TRY the tug/lift test. I base my theory on three basis:

(1) When I was fruit pruning them earlier in the summer, the fruits that the tree was ready to give up easily came off in my hand when lifted or twisted, but the one that weren't ready/tree was still growing wouldn't come off no matter how hard I tugged or twisted.
(2) My 4 little apples were subjected to the daily lift test (hold and lift upwards to see if the stem would break off from the branch) with approximately the same pressure and they were firmly attached until one day they came away. (Note that our little "harvest" were staggered -- 1 on 19th, 2 on 26th, and 1 on 27th). The 4 we had were crispy, juicy, and sweet.
(3) Blackberries, which are in the same family as apples, do the same thing -- until they're good and ripe, they won't pull off easily. If you insist and pull them off with force, they are still sour.

jdeb
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Best time to pick apples

Hold and lift is the way the professionals do it. Almost anything else damages some part of the fruit (including the stalk if you twist it).

However do remember that apples ripen at diffent times on the same tree - and the later the tree fruits, the longer the time between the first and last ripe apples. So you have to keep on testing....
Jack

JONA878
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Sorry I have not replied to this one before but I have only just joined the board.

The big problem for apple growers is that if you want to store your fruit on heavy crop years then you need to know whether they are ripe enough to pick without them being so ripe that they will not store for very long.
Pick fruit when it is fully ripe and you will only have a very short shelf life.
Growers use three methods to get the timing right.
First is by a spectrometer...this measures the suger content of the apple and gives the grower very accurate timeing.....problem is they are expensive.
Second is Pressure testing the fruit.....again expensive equipment.

Thirdly and by far the cheapest and easiest.

Take a bottle of iodine.
Pour a little into a dish.
Cut the apple in half and paint the cut surface with the iodine.
Leave face up for a couple of minutes.
The apple will go black at painting...then start to whiten from the core out.
When the size of this white area is about one third of the surface area you can safely pick the fruit for storage.
All the iodine does is tell you how much starch has turned to sugar.

remember to wear rubber gloves....iodine stains.

If you have a heavy crop it pays to pick the tree in two stages.
First pick early for storeing second as tree ripe .
Hope that helps.
Jona.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

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applestar
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WOW! That is a super cool trick! I can't wait to show my kids.
Thank you for explaining a great way to tell when to pick apples! :D

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momo
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An easy way to check for ripeness if you're willing to sacrifice a few apples is just to pick one and cut it in half - if the seeds are dark it is ready, if they are still pale it needs more time. :wink:
Sunset zone 14

JONA878
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Agree Sunset that would work.....only trouble is you would then be picking them all at a stage where they are too ripe to store well. The iodine test allows you to pick some of them at a stage where you can put some away for a couple of months without them shrivelling on you.

Providing of course that the variety is one that will store and not an early sort of apple like Discovery.

Jona.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.



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