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 can young trees ripen fruit early? 
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 99
Location: Corvallis
Post can young trees ripen fruit early?
Checking the Growing Degree Days for Corvallis, it seems we are about 8% ahead of average. That would seem adequate to explain the amount by which the Chehalis and Gravenstein are showing up early in the market.

A young plum tree, with a single piece of fruit, ripened that one piece of fruit at least six weeks earlier than expected. I thought that maybe because it was a single piece of fruit this was possible. One other young plum tree, with just two pieces, ripened its fruit at about the expected time. Two others, with a just a few pieces each, look as if they will ripen theirs as expected. These trees are all so close together that they share near-identical conditions.

A young apple tree, of a late bearing variety, has started dropping apples. I tested fruit on the tree; one came off easily. Tasted it, and while maybe it is a bit under-ripe, it would have been fully ripe by the end of August. Again this would be at least six weeks earlier than expected. But this tree was not adequately thinned, so the idea that maybe the fruit had extra resources and so could ripen it earlier doesn't seem plausible.

Unless there is something else that would explain this (like young trees sometimes ripening fruit early) then the most likely explanation is that the trees were mislabeled. This would not be entirely surprising.


Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:02 am

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1396
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: can young trees ripen fruit early?
Excellent observations. I have also noticed that my Mcintosh apple tree is dropping them early. At first they had white seeds but then several had brown seeds, showing ripeness.

A) check to see if the seeds are brown

II) if the apples have codling moth, they will often drop early. I had a new variety drop a month early last year. The part of the apple that was not infested was spectacular. The rest of the apples I then pulled off too early!

3) You can bring the apples and some leaves to the AAFS in the Fall when they do apple ID. Shaun, Jerry and Karen are very good at this.
John S

Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:25 pm

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 99
Location: Corvallis
Post Re: can young trees ripen fruit early?

Thanks. And here I thought I was the only one to use that numbering system!

So you are getting some early. But mine are from a variety that ripens at least a month later than Macintosh. There is no way there will be any left by the time the AFS rolls around. Don't seem to be any signs of codling or other pest problems.

The plum had to be eaten. Maybe the wrong variety, but it was pretty good.


Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:14 pm
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