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 Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012 
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:07 pm
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Post Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012
Wanting to understand more about my Transparent Apple tree:

>>given the weather this summer (cool, a little rainy), should I be watering my orchard yet?

>>wondering if Transparents are harvested early enough in summer that it precedes need for watering if the weather is, "normal"?

>>is anyone picking Transparents in south Puget Sound yet?

>>I've read Transparents last two days unrefrigerated, and two weeks refrigerated; does anyone have experience with the shelf life of Transparents if refrigerated (very cold -- 30 degree -- home refrigerator)?

>>will Transparents ripen some after picking? So could I pick them before ripe, refrigerate in 30 degree fridge, and then pull out a few at a time for ripening? If I do this, will I sacrifice sweetness?

Thanks very much.


Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:56 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012
Much depends on the age of your tree. If it’s under 10 years old I’d consider some water – deep watering, you don’t want the roots ‘turning up’ and seeking surface water; you want them digging deep. If it’s under 5 years old, I’d watch it a bit closer.

Though they’re the first apples to ripen, this doesn’t lessen the need for water. The water's mainly for the tree. And – they’re likely about ripe, mine are. You want to keep the tree in good health, leaves collecting and storing energy for next years crop. One very important aspect with Transparent’s is thinning… they set very heavy and that can weaken the tree. But other than propping up limbs due to a heavy load, it’s a bit late for thinning – other than obviously insect damaged or malformed fruit.

I bet folks in Puget Sound are around two weeks away from sweetness… we’re a bit warmer ‘down here.’

The ‘shelf life’ estimates sound about right. The running joke within our society is their 4-hour window of perfection. They’re consistency varies a lot with regard to ripeness and there seems only a 4 hour period of perfection 8)

I’d let them tree ripen mostly, they’ll ‘mellow’ with storage but not develop enough sugar content to taste good, to me. I like them from crunchy green through mellow yellow – they’re the first apple I get, other than a graft of “Summer Red” that’s pretty good on the same tree. I have both of those varieties grafted within a Gravenstein apple as pollinators. I’d bet a Gravenstein would be a good apple for you …though they’re pollen finicky and extremely prone to scab... But they’re an early ripener with a sweet/tart blend that (to me) beats all early apples in flavor complexity ~

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Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:52 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012
Viron gave good answers....

tree ripening is good if you can do it.....Yellow Transparents are known, though, for needing to harvest at exactly the right time.....if one has the time, one can notice that some apples could be eaten earlier and some left on the tree....as not all apples in a backyard setting ripen at exactly the same time.

I looked at historic Piper Orchard's yellow transparent tree and apples yesterday....I would guess it is about 2 weeks away from being ripe.....but since that place is in a cool woodsy environment then I might guess that a suburban area in south Puget Sound is only a week or so away from being ripe....I went by the "taste test" and the apples yesterday had no taste....when they are picked at just the right time they have a very good taste indeed......trial and error can sometimes be a decent teacher.


Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:23 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012
Thanks for your replies. Here's an update about Transparents in South Puget Sound:

July 27, 2012: apples have been falling exactly a week; today, picked 6 pounds from the top branches on the sunny side; they were not ripe at picking, and 24 hours later stored lying single layer at room temperature in a darkened room are paler green/more yellow, and 5 look and smell ripe.
Conclusion: they are not yet ready to pick (but the windfalls are making lovely salads and sauce).

This tree is against a greenbelt on its south side, so the south side of the tree, except for the very top of the branches, gets no sun. The NW side gets afternoon sun.

It is at least 40 years old. We bought the house in 2004. Each year, this tree has borne about 50 pounds of apples; this year, based on the number of bags we used, it looks to be bearing about 240 pounds. We thinned (1 apple every 6" of branch), we have not watered this year, we fertilize with composted steer manure, the ground is cardboard and wood chips. We removed all sod from our orchard five years ago.

I would like to learn the reason this year's crop is so much larger, and I would like to learn how to get larger apples. Though we thinned when they were smaller than walnut size, the apples that remain are smaller than normal. I've read about 3 apples make a pound; yesterday's picking yielded about 5 apples/pound.

I've read recently that the apple's size is determined by the number of cells, and that is determined very, very early in the season. How does one increase the number of cells at the right time; that is, what conditions must be present that we humans can provide that will yield enough cells to get a large apple?

I've also read that aggressive thinning will produce larger fruit, but I don't understand how that works if the size of the apple is determined by how many cells it has. Maybe the aggressive thinning has to happen early enough?

Am I obsessing? Well, yes. :oops: But why go to any work at all if one doesn't do the right thing to get a good result?

(I have a very patient husband! :P )


Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:56 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
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Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012
Make sure to check to see if the seeds are brown. Brown seeds = mature apples. White seeds = immmature.

Also, to have an effect on next year's crop, you need to thin within 30-40 days after bloom.
John S
PDX OR


Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:05 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Transparent Apples in South Puget Sound, July 2012
Sun is critical.. and full sun is best. Less sun - fewer leaves, less energy production and a lesser ability to feed the fruit.

‘Down here’ we’ve recently had some extended cold wet Springs - but this one was better. Having had very poor fruit set, this year my trees are loaded, too (and I’ve not done much thinning). I suspect the trees have stored a fair amount of energy that has finally gotten an opportunity to produce fruit.

Another thought; I believe Transparent’s are “Tip Bearer’s,” bearing their fruit on last years growth. If you’re not regularly pruning this tree it may be trying to form fruit on ‘wore out’ fruit spurs, and few of them (anyone?).

Your orchard care sounds good, but my suspicion is lack of sun with regard to size. …fewer leaves.

I've read recently that the apple's size is determined by the number of cells” -- I believe that’s pollination, likely the number of ‘cells’ transferred during pollination. Though Transparent apples are likely considered ‘self pollinating,’ most fruit benefits from cross pollination. Transparent’s bloom early, so unless there’s some decent overlap with other apples in the area, perhaps the smaller size (once described to me as not perfectly formed either) is caused by incomplete pollination. …but we’ve likely some experts around here who could describe (or correct) my assumption – if they’re watching :roll:

Thinning should help size-up the remaining apples. Though again, I suspect lack of sun… and it sounds like there’s little you can do about that. The last couple of days I’ve been gorging on Satsuma Asian plums, from the north side of my tree. The south side, encroached upon by a clump of Big leaf Maples, has so thinned the branches of leaves even fruit production’s disappeared. On the north side, with all-day sun – they’re big, juicy and think.

Am I obsessing?” -- over fruit trees..? - around here that’s a good thing :mrgreen:

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Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:52 pm
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