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 choosing apples for early fall frost, short season areas 
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:38 am
Posts: 2
Post choosing apples for early fall frost, short season areas
New to the forum, new land owner in Torrey UT, zone 5. This was a traditional orchard area, but I'm not finding the old-timers to ask questions to pick correct varieties for our short season. I understand about choosing later blooming varieties, but what about the expected harvest dates? Our area often gets a mid-Sept frost that kills tomatoes, then a few more weeks of Indian summer weather. The cottonwoods don't turn yellow until late October. When they grow an apple in New England that doesn't ripen until November, is it that their frosts are really that late, or can apples tolerate that much cold autumn weather?

Any advice on interpreting and understanding expected harvest date data would be greatly appreciated.

Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:51 am

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1396
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: choosing apples for early fall frost, short season areas
The Minnesota program has introduced several varieties for short season growing. Honeycrisp is the most famous, but also Haralson, Haralred, Sweet Sixteen, and I believe there are others. Keepsake? Certainly WHitney crab could take your winters.
John S

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:24 pm

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 188
Post Re: choosing apples for early fall frost, short season areas
If you haven't already talked to the rangers at Capitol Reef National Park, please do so....they have preserved some of the older fruit tree varieties and there is a good chance they have a horticulturalist there with good ideas.

If you actually are working there at Capitol Reef and want more help/expertise, I can maybe put you in touch with one of the largest fruit growers in Santaquin, Utah (and in Utah itself) ....who suggested at one time that I work there at Capitol Reef National Park myself and he might be good as a partial resource. If so, contact me.

P.S. As an aside to everyone else, most people think of Washington apples when they think of apples....but the truth (as I understand it) is that Utah and Colorado apples actually get a higher sugar content because of the altitude and therefore maybe even a better taste.....they just don't have the advertising dollar for them.

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:03 pm

Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:38 am
Posts: 2
Post Re: choosing apples for early fall frost, short season areas
I am in touch with the orchardist at the park. They are 1400' lower than us, so their growing season is quite a bit longer. Tried some of thei Ginger Golds that are ripe right now and they were yummy.

I read in an Idaho extension pamphlet that apples will do ok on the tree to 22 deg F. (www extension Does this match real world experience? If so, I can safely be looking for apples that ripen into mid-October, looking at historic weather data for our neighboring town of Teasdale.

@DonRicks, I will get in touch off-forum.


Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:18 pm

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 188
Post Re: choosing apples for early fall frost, short season areas
RedAnn, I don't spend much time on research and I now realize that a quick Google search of Torrey showed proximity to Capitol Reef National Park and that is all I looked at and I came to the wrong conclusion.
You are bad....Fruita is at 5436 feet and Torrey is 6830 feet.

Having said that, another (quick) search shows me (if I got it right) that Wisconsin is usually colder than zone 5 and I know for sure (because I have picked apples there) that they do well with apples. ... iness.html

So, the real question may be not what gardening zone you are in, but the question becomes just how cold that first frost is and how bad of a bad boy it gets to be. I know from real world experience that growers often like that first little glimpse of a frost because it adds taste to the apples. But I also know that if it gets too cold .....and especially if it is below freezing for too many hours....then the apples will disintegrate into mush......and so there are indeed some critical temps there to watch. A little frost is good.....too much frost and for too long is bad.
John S. gave some good ideas on the Minnesota program and they are indeed a group to watch and they have good extension agents there who can help.....if you find their temps match yours in Torrey.
You will do well to research it, but another quick off-the-top-of my-head thought is to look at varieties like Gala that ripen early and forget varieties like Fuji that ripen late.

P.S. I hope you stay in my mind it would be fantastic if there were actually no other fruit trees in your area as you would then have a chance at not having to deal much with problems with the bugs.....but my guess is that there are still a few surviving fruit trees in Torrey.

Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:29 pm
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