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What are these spots on my apples?
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Author:  arlotone [ Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  What are these spots on my apples?


I have a small apple tree grafted from three varieties. In previous years, 100% of the apples were infested with apple maggots, but I used the clay-dusted footies for the last two years and that reduced the maggot infestation to 0%!

However, this year some of the apples have developed many small brown spots a few weeks after picking. They were not there when I picked the apples, which have been sitting in a basket in my kitchen for a few weeks. The spots resemble small bruises: the flesh of the apple is brown and mushy for about 1/8" under the skin. Curiously, the spots have only appeared on one of the three varieties. (I don't know what the varieties are other than red, yellow and green; the spots are on the yellow apples.)

I'm attaching a photo; can anyone identify this?


File comment: photo of apple skin
IMG_2748.jpg [ 51.97 KiB | Viewed 3276 times ]

Author:  DCE [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What are these spots on my apples?

Looks like Bitter Pit to me. Here is a description:

Bitter pit develops late in the growing season or in storage. It is very similar to cork spot, but the areas of brown, corky, dead tissue are confined to areas just under the skin.

Both Bitter Pit and the related Cork Spot are physiological conditions caused by lack of soluble calcium during the growing season. Calcium sprays are usually used on susceptible
varieties, but first look to your soil as to why the available calcium is not being used by the tree. Lots of resources on the web.

Author:  John S [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What are these spots on my apples?

I regularly put shells into my soil when I go clamming. It is slow release, but it's free and it probably improves the drainage. I don't get those problems.

Author:  Marsha [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What are these spots on my apples?

I dump my eggshells and coffee grounds as mulch, hoping to achieve calcium dispersion as well as slightly better soil than solid clay. Trees haven't been growing long enough for me to know how effective it is.


Author:  arlotone [ Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What are these spots on my apples?

Thanks, that does sound like what I have. I read another description that mentioned that bitter pit affects the blossom end of the fruit more than the stem end, and that it affects some varieties more than others, and I'm seeing both of those characteristics here.

I add agricultural lime to my garden, so it would be easy enough to add this around the apple tree as well. It sounds like more regular watering would also help with calcium absorption.

One further question is that the HOS website mentions some pruning to avoid excessive tree growth during the growing season. I had read elsewhere that all pruning should be done during the dormant season. My small tree creates lots of new growth each year -- should I be trimming that during the summer as well?

Author:  John S [ Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What are these spots on my apples?

I would prune to make the tree the right shape: No overlapping, dead, damaged, and lots of circulation.
John S

Author:  SNRote [ Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What are these spots on my apples?

My apples had signs of bitter pit last season but seemed to do a lot better this year. I used a teejet sprayer to fertilize my whole orchard this year and it performed amazingly. I have never crushed egg shells but what a thrifty and easy idea. I also prune every other year to keep them nice and tight.

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