Zestar apples being attacked

eurolarva(z4 MN)July 31, 2013

I have 4 apple trees growing in my back yard. My honey crisp is 5 years old, my Zestar and Snowsweet (both University of Minnesota trees) are 4 years old and a cherry apple (used for pollination). We are having an awesome year for apples but our zestar has something eating the red or pink part of the apples. The apples wont be ready to harvest for almost two months. Can someone identify what is doing the eating and what I can do to prevent it on the apples that have not been attacked yet. Here are links to pictures of the problem

http://home.comcast.net/~printergod2000/apple 1.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~printergod2000/apple 002.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~printergod2000/apple 003.jpg

I live in a residental area with a fenced in back yard and the trees have protective white plastic around the tree trunk. What ever is doing this is either insect or bird. We do not have squirrel or dear in our back yard. Also should mention I spray all of these trees once every two weeks with a fruit tree spray where captan is the main ingredient

This post was edited by eurolarva on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 23:00

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Looks like bird damage.

I had the same problem with my plums, but...I decided to outsmart the birds. I covered my plums with old newspaper and It worked--finally I was able to have some tree-ripened plums.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:30PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Bird damage...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:32PM
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eurolarva(z4 MN)

So what is the solution to bird damage. Cover each apple with a ziplock bag? I am new to this. For the last 5 years we have had a dismal crop of apples. Will my honeycrisp and snowsweets go through this when they start turning red?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:36PM
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get some "reflective bird tape" off ebay or etc. I used it for the first time this year to save black berries. it works very well, with only a couple exceptions. A robin was near one on a cloudy evening, although bushes between. and a cardinal seemed unworried. But no problems with birds even though two different neighbors have bird feeders within 30 feet of my bushes. It does not work on squirrels at all

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:00AM
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I have never had trouble with birds until this year. After losing all early peaches to brown rot, I lost the entire middle crop to woodpeckers. They endlessly robbed all my berries and have now started to decimate my pears. The red headed variety has been the worst with red bellies not far behind. Out of 16 peach trees, I ended up with less than half a bushel only by picking early.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:13AM
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I recall from my experiences years ago working at a commercial orchard that birds often attacked early season apples when they started to turn red. They did not seem to bother apples that ripened later.

Not sure why birds do this only on early apples, but I do
not think it will be a problem with Honeycrisp or other mid-season varieties.

I recall it being bad on apples that ripened real early like
Beacon, Quinte, Paula Red ect.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:23AM
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Is it dry where you're growing? Last year I had awful bird damage during the drought.

You can net the tree and/or use bags, but desperate/determined birds will get some fruit regardless.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:33AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Maybe trying putting out some birdbaths ...i keep mine full every day..

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:39PM
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I found a sprayable bird repellent online. Called R-avex . It is based on grape skins.Has anyone tryed it?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:30PM
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eurolarva(z4 MN)

I have about 50 old cds and a couple of disposible pie pans hanging from the tree. A couple of my honey crisp have been attacked but all the zestars are only eaten where they are starting to blemish to the red side. I sure hope sparten apple is correct. We had a perfect wet spring and early summer was mild in temp and because of it all my trees are loaded with fruit. Last year we had a frost that killed all the blossums and left us with 5 apples total for three trees.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:45PM
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I tried the CDs with cherries. Birds undeterred.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 10:01AM
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