Rethinking bagging apples

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)February 1, 2013

Last year was the first year I did any bagging. My trees are still young so I didn't really have much of a sample but the ones that were bagged were mealy and less flavorful. My only Calville Blan seemed to have scab under the bag. I have never seen scab except in pictures but it certainly wasn't edible.

Could my results be because there is much more intense sun here in the Mile High city? They literally seemed baked in their bags.

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Mealy means it was on the tree too long. It was over-mature.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:14AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I don't think they were over mature as I picked some bagged and unbagged at the same time from the same tree. My only real producer this year was Rubinette, but I did the same with Honeycrisp with the same results.

Are you saying that bagging causes them to mature more quickly?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:17AM
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Milehigh! I bagged all of my apples last year, not one was mealy. All juicy, ripe, tart, sweet and perfect. I really watch them daily, as I'm sure you do as well. Not only was the taste not affected by the baggies, the look, (perfect skin) on the apples was excellent. Also, no sooty blotch. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:17AM
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I had mixed results with my bagging last year. I lost a bunch to heat related bruising/browning where the bag was too hot for the apple. Others in more shady spots did fine. I had some in footies that did not have the heat problem but had more fungus problems. I think I sprayed once with Triacizide early in the season.

I have a Rubinette tree (part of a multigraft tree) and I find the variety VERY easy to let get overripe and mealy on the tree. The apples will hang way past their best pick date. This year I plan to pick them quickly to avoid the mealiness.

This year I'm hoping to do two sprays with triacizide and immunox and then bag apples with mostly footies and see how ti goes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Hi Milehigh,
I've bagged apples for the past 3-4 yrs without much problem. There were times that earwigs get in and did a little damage.

I remembered someone posted on this forum a picutre of an apple with Ziplock sign imprinted on the apple. I think heat may have caused it.

Possibly that intense heat (where you are) in the bags could have a negative effect on your apples. I've never had that problem, though.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:04PM
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tedgrowsit(6b PA)

I have been bagging apples for a couple of years and have results that make me question as well. My bagged apples do seem to sunburn readily. This has happened on multiple varieties. I have Goldrush I have bagged. They seem to crack and taste a bit watery. I also concur that bagged apples will ripen sooner than unbagged. A few years ago I had a few mealy Rubinett as well. As for sooty blotch, my observation is that later apples suffer more than early, and bagged apples suffer as much as any others. We have eaten many sooty blotched bagged apples. Thankfully they are still delicious and nutritious. These are my observations in hot, humid SE Pennsylvania.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:58PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

I use baggies and footies, usually the footies are the ones soaked in Surround as they work so much better.
Mealiness-has never happened.
More scab-yes sometimes
Fewer codling moths-always. I used to get a ton, and I hardly get any now.
Apple maggot-zero now.
Sun burn-in zip loc just a bit. In footie-none.

For me, it's worth it, but I like hanging out in my yard. For others it might not be. In many urban -suburban yards, you are eventually going to get codling moth and then you're going to have to make a decision about it.
John S

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:35AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I have a "favorite" link saved for cloth cotton drawstring bags. I don't remember who mentioned them here but they seem like they would be better than footies soaked in Surround.

The link below has the details of the sizes offered. I would like to get the double drawstring because they would be easier to install; I just don't know if they are large enough. [MP-3255PB* 3 1/4" x 5"]

Here is a link that might be useful: Cloth Cotton Drawstring Parts Bags

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Milehigh, since the cotton bag is opaque, will the lack of direct sun effect the color of the apple?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:31AM
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This summer some of my Liberty and Macs got sunburned, but overall looked good. My Macoun which I bagged allmost every apple came out beautifully. I will probably not bag every apple on my trees as they get bigger, but it's a good insurance policy for getting some edible apples.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:55PM
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I try to remove all the apples I don't bag, to keep the pests from finding a home. But then, I get more apples than I can use.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:36PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I also had some sunburn/rotting last year in late June on my bagged apples. Most seemed to rot on the upper south side of the more exposed apples. It may be partially due to very young dwarf trees which don't have enough leaves to provide some shade. I know at least some of the burned ones were Goldrush. I'll look for a pattern next year in terms of variety. The bagged apples which didn't burn turned out very well cosmetically- generally better than the un-bagged ones, though I haven't yet had any insect problems (other than ants/aphids).

I didn't notice any problems with the bagged apples becoming mealy. Next year I'll try to pay better attention to see if there is a difference in flavor or brix.

One of the more annoying aspects to the bagging was when the apples would drop, bag and all. Every few days I would pick up a few and move the bag to another apple. It wasn't bad this year as I had so few apples, but when the crop goes from 20->50->400, etc, it could be more of a problem. Part of it could be that I started bagging pretty early- May 8th, per my records. It was an early spring, so that may have contributed to the long drop window

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:53PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I just did a little more perusing and found organza bags that would easily hold an apple and let air circulate and sun penetrate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Organza Bags 6-1/2x4x7

This post was edited by milehighgirl on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 15:10

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Why not wrapping whole branches with fleece/frost blanket, I use it for pest on berry bushes, it's white, reflect sunlight, very light, can breathe, good for hail, birds etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: frost blanket

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 3:18PM
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I have had the best luck with green organza bags with drawstrings covering each apple after blossom, and with peaches since the squirrel pressure is even greater sometimes I put a 6" bag on first and then as the fruit grows i put a 12" bag on a couple months before harvest over the 6" bag. Double bagging is a lot of work, but it works! Put the bag over the small fruit, sinch top of bag between fruit and support branch (on the fruit stem) and then tie the draw strings to the support branch.

Also, I don't just spray the trees, but try to keep surrounding vegetation to a minimum and spray it is well using the same sprays used on the tree...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:54PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


What is the reason for the double bagging?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Mile High girl:

I have many apple trees but so few fruits last year with all the spring frosts that I tried bagging some of them.
I used platic ziplock sandwitch bags. Best crop of Haralson I evr had! I tried them on some other varieties too with good results. Some of my trees are very young and others are not. I did not have any sunscald.

Since I use Imidan normally, I get a lot of scars/cracking
on Haralson since Imidan is phytotoxic on haralson fruit. At least that is what I read. The bagged Haralson apples
were wonderful!

It is too labor intensive to bag all my apples, but I will
definitely bag all the haralson this year.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:23PM
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I think the green color tends to hide the fruit and the second much larger bag not only provides additional camouflage, but another physical barrier keeping the animal so far away from the fruit i think they may not see the fruit or if they do they decide to find an easier target.

I have tried plastic bags, footies, paper bags, etc. and settled on the organza bags.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:17PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


Do you use the bright green (emerald) colored bags? Where did you purchase from? I don't see the sizes you list anywhere. I'm thinking the 6-1/2"x 4"x 7" Round Bottom Organza Bags would be the right size.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:10PM
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I used the emerald green color.
Beware, the size they quote is total length and width of a flat bag and since the drawstring is below the top of the bag the usable area is much less. Also, sometimes the actual bag size may be 1/4 to 3/4 inch less than nominal (advertised).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:18PM
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