black coating on yellow apples

elisa_z5December 4, 2012

I have apples from a yellow apple tree -- it's on my neighbor's abandoned property, so I don't know what kind it is. Normally, the apples are yellow with no coating, but this year the apples look fine just that they have a black coating on the skins. If I brush the skin it comes off (mostly). Soap and rubbing with my hand does not take it off -- only brisk brushing works.

Does anyone know what this could be? Can I safely make applesauce from them without scrubbing every single apple? (which would take all night) I have had them in the fridge, figuring I'd scrub and use them one at a time, but there are so many I don't want to waste them.

The peaches on the peach trees (next to the apple tree) were just a mass of fuzz this year -- as in mold. And I noticed that no one got the pears this year (I was away when they ripened) and they were left to rot on the tree. Could it be mold from the other fruit?

I hope it's not anything from the air -- normally no one burns coal in the summer.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

That's sooty mold. It occurs on fruit and on leaves. It is caused by aphids, scale, or some other insect that leaves a sugary film on the fruit or foliage. This sugary solution is then consumed by mold that results in the black film.

It's not dangerous just unsightly.

Sorry my English skills seem weak this morning. Maybe you can understand what I mean.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Hello from Michigan Elisa,
Where would you be located? I am interested to know if these apples are fine and good for picking (besides the soot) here in early December - or are they from storage?. If so, that's a nice tree!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Fruitnut -- your English is perfect and I thank you very much for your informative answer! So, I will make apple sauce with no regrets.

Jim, I am in the mountains of West Virginia, and the apples were indeed picked in mid October -- it is only now that I'm realizing that eating them one at a time will not use them all up fast enough, and so into the apple sauce pot they go.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:27AM
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alan haigh

Elisa, yellow apples tend to be very susceptible to a fungus called sooty blotch which has nothing to do with aphids. In humid parts of the country this is more likely to be the issue than aphids, but same difference as it is completely harmless and is only a cosmetic problem.

If you are curious you can find a picture of the disease on-line without much effort now that you know the name.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 3:42PM
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Harvestman -- I did check the photos, and honestly can't tell if it's sooty mold or sooty blotch, but great to know either one is harmless.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:32PM
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