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 McIntosh drops all its apples early 
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:52 pm
Posts: 1
Post McIntosh drops all its apples early
Hello, I wonder if anyone has a solution for the fruit drop problem with McIntoshes? My problem is that all the apples drop off my tree well before they are ripe, every year. They have started dropping last week. None of my other trees have dropped any fruit. I know I am late thinning but I have thinned this late in past years and had excellent results (again, from all my other trees).

I have tried about everything I can think of to treat the tree but I have got zero results. None of the direct remedies I have found through searches seem to apply to apples dropping this early, and I haven't done anything other than treating the tree right for 4 years now. I have 3 about 30 year old mature trees within 50 feet of each other (McIntosh, Granny Smith and Gravenstien) and several 8 year old trees from 50 to a few hundred feet away. None have ever had the problem so early or dropped more than a fraction of their fruit. No stress that I can point to, the other trees show no signs of stress, no damage except for some old woodpecker workings like the other two (that seems to have had no effect and it's old damage).

It was overgrown like any neglected tree 8 years ago and I cut the tree back to a perfect umbrella shape over 4 years. As few interior or crossing branches as I feel comfortable leaving. I prune in late winter/early spring, use dormant spray and spray for scab etc. 2 or 3 times before the fruit sets (they are super clean, insect free, except for a touch of scab on interior leaves and fruits). We have excellent pollination (we keep Mason bees) I have thinned them back to a couple apples per cluster and last year maybe 100 for the whole tree for 2 years now. The fruit all drops by mid-summer, in fact it has started dropping last week (it's June 25th). No weird weather, nothing I can point to, but every single fruit drops not even close to being ripe. Last year the last fruits dropped while much smaller than mature fruit and still green, I am guessing early August.

Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:01 pm

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: McIntosh drops all its apples early
McIntosh will drop some apples early. That is normal. It's in the literature across the board that it happens. I've had a McIntosh for about 15 years and it always drops some early. I mean late August and early September. The ones that drop then are good, just not as good as the real regularly tree ripened ones. Then it comes into it's real harvest mid September into October, depending on the year.

Your situation is unusual. I wouldn't know what to do about that. You could try to talk to a master gardener, or you could email Michael Phillips on his web site. Like him, I am an organic gardener, so I don't know if that would have something to do with it. You could try to email Vern Nelson at the Oregonian. He's the Hungry gardener columnist. You could try the garden doctor radio show on KEX in the mornings on Saturday. Mike Darcy has a show too.
John S

Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:26 pm

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 498
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: McIntosh drops all its apples early
Macs have a tendency to short stems, and fat apple growth usually ends up pushiing the apple right off its attachment site. So when I am thinning Macs, I look for the longest stem in the cluster, not necessarily the biggest apple! Yes, there are still some pushoffs, but I feel it cuts down on that to go for long stems, if there be any.

Whoever improves the mac needs to dial in long stems!

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:22 pm
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