When is the proper time to thin fruit on apple, pear, and peach trees?

Apples and pears have three periods when some immature fruit drops naturally from the tree. The June drop (Zones 6 and 7) is the last one, and many growers feel that thinning should follow this drop. However, if a heavy bloom has coincided with good weather so that bees worked the blooms, the chances are that relatively few fruit will drop from the tree. In this instance, heavy thinning is required. The earlier the fruit are thinned, the greater the …

How long can I store fresh apples?

Late-maturing varieties of apples will store for use throughout the winter if the fruit is hard, mature, and in perfect condition. Apples picked too green (unripe) are subject to a number of storage disorders, such as scald and bitter pit; if picked beyond maturity, they quickly become overripe in storage. Cool fruit as quickly as possible after harvest for best results. For most varieties of apples, the optimal storage temperature is 30° to 32°F with a 90% relative humidity. Higher …

How can I control insects and diseases on my apple tree?

Homeowners are often surprised at the damage pests can do to apples. It is not easy to grow apples as pretty as those seen in the grocery store. Several diseases and insects can damage apple trees. Besides spraying pesticides, other things can be done to reduce pest damage, but it is very difficult to grow quality apples without some kind of pesticide application schedule. Rake and destroy leaves in the fall to reduce damage from diseases that overwinter in infected …

What is the best way to tell when apples and pears are ripe?

Harvest time varies with individual tastes and locality. One may consider a fruit ripe, while another individual believes it is immature. However, fruit picked too soon does not store well and does not develop full flavor. Probably the most reliable index is the number of days after bloom: Red Delicious takes 135 to 155 days from full bloom to harvest, whereas Granny Smith takes 170 to 180 days from full bloom to harvest. Other factors to consider include seed maturity; …