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the virtues of russeting

Posted by Michael Phillips 
the virtues of russeting
September 11, 2017 09:02AM
Let's turn our attention to russeted fruit. This isn't about "natural russets" like Roxbury Russet and Hudson's Golden Gem but rather fruit finish response to sprays and/or climatic influence. Garret kicked off this query in the 2017 scab review thread where he reported about visiting my orchard in late August:

Garret Miller
I will also say that some part of Michael's fatty acid based, holistic spray program is causing some interesting russeting on non-russet varieties. Not sure if I understand the mode of action at work there, but I found it kind of beautiful. Both desirable as a cider maker (often better aromatics, drier, indicator of high brix) and a story-teller (aka direct marketer of fresh fruit)- "plant health you can see".

Red Gravenstein, Sweet Sixteen, and MacIntosh are among the varieties with a strong russeting response to the fatty acids (or something) in a holistic program. Not every apple, mind, but a hefty majority. I do seem to get less-affected fruit up high in the tree which suggests slower drying time plays a role here. Smooth redskin cultivars are subject to "fatty acid russeting" whereas many other varieties like Duchess, St. Lawrence, Bonkers, Mother, and Honeycrisp don't show this response whatsoever. That's one clue.

John Bunker of Fedco Trees told us at this spring's Berkshire Meeting about a researcher looking into how the russeting response was indicative of higher medicinal virtue in the fruit. This seconds Garret's observation as a cider maker. This makes sense, as outside stimulation of many sorts kicks in immune phytochemistry. Russeting viewed thusly is the visual manifestation of environmental reality at play. That's another clue.

Now one of you needs to add the next bit.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: the virtues of russeting
September 29, 2017 10:14PM
We are also seeing russeting on those varieties. It is often netted and I wondered if it was powdery mildew. But I see it a lot on Akane which I've read is supposed to be resistant to PM. Also, I often find a drier, less waxy skin on our fruit, notably Jonagold and Golden Delicious.
I'm using the word "robust" to describe our apples.
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