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Dry, hard and non juicy apples. Help!

Posted by Erica Hockett 
Dry, hard and non juicy apples. Help!
August 11, 2014 01:36PM
I have an organic fruit and nut orchard in Sonoma Country, California. It has been really dry this year but we are drip irrigating our trees from underground springs. The apples are not quite ready to pick but some are falling off and they are very dry, hard and have no crisp or juicy texture. They are Gravensteins, Newton Pippins, Arkansas Black and Golden Russets. The same problem with all of them. Any advice? Do you think it could be lack of water? Maybe they are just not ready yet, the pips are brownish white. The trees do not look water stressed as the leaves are green and perky. It has been really hot and dry though. I would really appreciate some advice. Thanks.
Re: Dry, hard and non juicy apples. Help!
August 25, 2014 08:01AM
Erica, the problem is probably not simply due to high temperature. In summer our average daily maximum is around 28 degrees C (82F), but we usually get a few days over summer when a strong northerly will push the temperature to over 40 degrees C (104F). Last summer we reached a record high of 45 degrees (113F). Of the four varieties you list, we only have Gravenstein – but we have never seen the symptoms you describe, even after very hot weather.

Hopefully they are just not ready yet. One thing we do know is that excessive heat will delay maturity here – when our trees experience extreme heat, they shut down despite irrigation, and can take up to a week to recover. Probably best to keep the soil moist with irrigation, and as the weather cools, hopefully they will be okay.

Kalangadoo Orchard
On the “other side” in South Australia
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