Apples ripening off tree?

nrgraham22(Z4 New England)August 19, 2008

Well, my first year with apples on my tree (it's a liberty, dwarf, zone 4, it's 3 or 4 years old, I forget), and one of the branches broke right at the trunk. I am sure I left too many apples on, and the weight of the apples broke it. I am very bummed! Especially after my husband has been making fun of me for three years about how he could go buy a bushel of apples a year for the money, etc. I finally had something to show for it and now this. I had bagged them, and some of them were perfect. sniff.

So, will they ripen off the tree? Are the apples from that branch a lost cause and an addition to the compost pile? They are just a little red on one side, mostly still pale green, but they were in bags. Should I just wait for the ones that are still attached to the tree?

Advice and commiserations please.



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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

First off, tell your husband to bug off, you can't put a price tag on the enjoyment you get from growing your own tree, and besides, you can't buy any apple that will taste as good as one of your own home grown apple.

Breaking branches is a common problem, especially with super dwarf trees. You really have to be diligent about thinning and staking for support, unless you prune your trees properly. I just had a branch break on my Mutsu, and a big branch broke off my Winter banana. Our dog got her leash tied up on one of my prized old Swiss heirloom "Chataigne du Leman" and in the process managed to break off three beautiful branches. I ended up having to so some grafting to repair the tree.

So yes, broken branches seems to be something most of us have to live with when growing apples.

Depending on how far along your apples were when the branch broke off, you might get decent apples by letting them sit on the counter for a while. I use my early drop and broken branch apples for juicing after letting them mellow on the counter for a while. They will also be good for cooking.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 11:25PM
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While not as good as fully ripe for fresh eating, they'll be just fine by this point for cooking. I sampled a 'Stayman Winesap' right off of my tree yesterday, and, although it wouldn't have been fully ripe here in Michigan for almost 2 months, it wasn't bad at all. In fact, while eating it, it struck me that it tasted almost like a 'Granny Smith' from the store.

Underripe apples make a really good apple pie, among other things.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 11:59PM
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myk1(5 IL)

It would be too early for me to try and ripen them (it's an October apple right?). But if they were a size that was worth it I would definitely be willing to cook with them.

You husband could buy a bushel of apples a year for what money? The money the tree cost? So what about the other 40 years or so? You'll still be about 35 bushels ahead of him.
Plus it sounds like yours are organic and I don't think he could buy a bushel of organic apples for the price of a tree.
Even if you spray, the yearly cost doesn't add up to the amount of apples you can get.
And that's not even getting into the flavor the others mention.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 1:47AM
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Ha! Tell him you COULD have a hobby like buying shoes, which rarely continue to give you pleasure for years like an apple tree will. Or how much cheaper it would be to have a boyfriend instead of a husband!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:55PM
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nrgraham22(Z4 New England)


Actually I do have a hobby of buying yarn and fabric too, but that's another bboard. I usually tell him how much cheaper it is than a divorce lawyer!


    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 11:22PM
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Will say there are critics all around us. As long as your activity is affordable and healthy do as you wish and let the critics keep flapping their jaws.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 8:46AM
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