How Cold for Apple Fruit?

oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)October 12, 2010

How much cold can apples on the tree take before they are ruined by freezing?

I've got a week of cold nights coming up and 3 trees of unripe apples. The yellow delicious are at least edible and I am wondering whether I should pick them or not.

The apples have already safely made it through several nights of high 20 degrees. Cold enough to kill all the tomatoes and squash and freeze the grape vines.

Before they go dormant, the apple trees will shrug off anything down into the low 20's, but I suspect the fruit won't be that durable.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Last year my Pink Lady got hit by 18F in mid Nov. It didn't ruin them. I still stored them in the frig a couple months with pretty good quality. There was some damage to the texture of the fruit. I would think that tolerance to freezing would vary some depending on brix and texture of the apple. But I'm guessing there.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 12:20PM
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Generally, various late apples in my yard seem to be OK to about 25 degrees without any problems at all. Between 20 and 25 it gets a little "iffy". Below 20, generally mushville.

But, a lot of it depends on various other factors, too. One real biggie, IMO, is whether or not the leaves have fallen. If the tree still has most of the leaves, they help protect the fruit.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 2:31PM
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alan haigh

Makes sense if airs still, the leaves would hold heat, if it's breezy leaves wouldn't help much. Brix is also a factor as suggested. Goldrush stays firm when many others turn to mush and is very high brix.

I don't really think you can be sure of a very specific temp for a variety of reasons and I'd pick the bulk of my apples before it got below 25 unless they absolutely needed more time to be useful. Leave some for experimental purposes and then you can teach us.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 3:52PM
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When the subject is how much cold will fruit stand before being damaged, the length of time the temperature stays at the minimum temperature must be considered. Al

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 9:00AM
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alan haigh

Length of time always has to be considered with all freezing problems- flowers, cambium, roots, etc.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 5:22PM
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myk1(5 IL)

Wow, numbers being mentioned are already lower than I can tolerate. If it's going to get to 25ð I pick. Maybe I'll drop that to 20ð.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:26PM
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alan haigh

The concensus seems to be 25 as the safe cut-off. Just because Pink Lady wasn't destroyed at 18 isn't to say quality was not damaged.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:44PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Thanks, guys (or would that be "my peeps"). I will pick when the weatherman guesses 26 overnight.

Then hope he doesn't miss in his forecast again. I almost lost my pepper plants on a night that wasn't supposed to freeze. I went out at midnight and, darn, it was cold out. So I dragged the peppers inside by flashlight.

I don't plan to be out at midnight picking apples by flashlight. Or... maybe I would. I sure want those apples.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 8:16PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

We had around 14F over two weeks ago, most apples I picked before, left some on for the birds, robins now take advantage before heading south.
Some Mirabelle Plums are still on too, left them on because they weren't ripe....I should look if they're toast.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 8:42PM
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Picking apples by flashlight made me laugh. My neighbor has 50 acres of Zinfandel grapes. For the last three nights generators have been running to supply lights for the pickers. This has been a very cool summer for a variety that loves HEAT and vines have been trimmed to allow more sun through. Suddenly a temperature over 100 for a week and picking becomes a 24/7 job. With his wine starting at $35 a bottle, he does not need my sympathy. Al

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 9:57AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

We did pick pears by flashlight at midnight. My son, who is considerable taller than I am, managed to get 3 large buckets of fat Bosc that I couldn't reach. He was picking and I was holding the flashlight. Midnight was the only time I could get him over there to pick.

I've wasted an entire year trying to buy a fruit picking pole. I finally decided I have to make one. Got my eye on one of those little digger hand tools that look like a claw. Gunna tape it to a pole with duct tape. Should work.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

My experience last year was that a low of 12, high of 24, and 3 days where it didn't get above 29 was too cold for McIntosh apples on the tree.

However, there were a number that had fallen off the tree as the storm came in and I picked those up after the storm cleared. They didn't appear to be hurt while the ones still on the tree were turning to brown mush as things started to thaw.

However, the ones from the ground didn't keep well and I used them all by Christmas. The ones I picked as the storm was arriving lasted until March.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 2:28AM
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