Bagged Apples

This year’s crop of Belle de Boskoop bagged apples was absolutely free of codling moth damage. The problem of apple scab, however, was only partially stopped, if at all. Since my wife and I had planned a 45 day vacation, exploring the national parks in the western U.S., I knew that the tree would get no attention for most of the summer. This last spring I bagged 60 of what seemed promising tiny pips. I had purchased 1000 #4 white paper sacks. After bagging, maybe 10 apples, I realized how optimistic I was at the time of purchase. Bagging apples is extremely time-consuming. I thanked my stars that this was the non-productive year for the tree, which had gone biennial. Still, there was a discouragingly large crop for this much personal attention. I decided upon a comparative study: bagged apples vs. free hanging.

Of the sixty bagged apples:

45 were perfect specimens. I was pleasantly surprised by the rich coloration and diminished russeting.
1 sack had been punctured, but the apple inside was OK.
2 sacks & fruit had been punctured; bruise rot had started at the site of the wound.
2 were knocked off the low-hanging branches when the cleaning lady parked under the tree.
8 were infected with scab, some so badly they had fallen into the sack.
2 of my choices failed to thrive.

Of the hanging free apples: ? – I lost count of the number of apples that I picked off the ground, fallen due to brown rot, codling moth and/or scab. The summer here was quite wet, so much so that brown rot disease destroyed about all the remaining free-hanging crop; the codling moth were found in nearly all and scab attacked about one apple in five. So, whether or not I choose to bag apples, the tree will have to be treated beforehand for scab.

Pome News, Winter 2003 Issue