Yard & Garden Report


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Apple Harvest Season

It's apple picking time! Learn how to harvest and store the leading fruit crop of North Dakota.

An apple is ready to harvest when the background color of its skin turns from green to yellow.

It’s apple picking time! 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!

After a disappointing crop in 2015, many growers are reporting a bumper crop of apples this year. 

Almost all 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 (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 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.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, September 27, 2016. The photo was made available under a Creative Commons license specified by the photographer: Michael E..


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