Lawns, Gardens & Trees


| Share

It's Apple Picking Time!

The apple harvest is underway. Learn how to harvest and store the leading fruit crop of North Dakota.


The sun is shining, the air is crisp and cool, and our apple trees are loaded with fruit. It’s a great time of the year!

Many cultivars are ready to be picked now. If you are not sure, an apple is ready for picking when its background skin color turns from green to yellow (middle photo). The fruit comes off easily when harvested.

Use an upward and twisting motion when harvesting fruit. Do not yank down on branches. This can tear off the knobby, branch spurs (shown near the fruit stem in middle photo), where next year’s fruits will come.

Apples on trees can tolerate temps approaching 26°F before frost damage occurs. If they freeze on the tree, wait for the fruits to thaw before harvesting. Frozen fruits should be used promptly.

Store fruits in a cool (34–40°F), humid (90% RH), dark place. A refrigerator is best, but a root cellar or unheated garage is acceptable.

complete list of recommended apple cultivars for North Dakota is available.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Photos courtesy of camknows, Michael E. and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.