Northwest Michigan apple maturity report – September 18, 2013

SweeTango harvest is underway in northwest Michigan and Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious harvests are coming soon.

Apples are really starting to color up across the region. Many common varieties are approaching mature and growers are eager to start picking these apples. Boxes have been placed in many blocks in anticipation of harvest. As many varieties are not yet mature, growers are also hoping for increased size and color. Color has improved from last week, but a green background is still visible on most fruit.

The club variety SweeTango harvest is underway. Sweet cider press has started with early apples, but brix levels in the juice are fairly low – about 10.5 percent. Some Retain is going on in the past week and little apple drop has been observed so far this season.

Summary of northwest Michigan apple maturity samples taken on Sept. 17, 2013.

Variety

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. pressure (range)

Starch (range)

Brix (range)

Gala

79 (50 - 100)

18.6 (16 – 23)

2.0 (1 - 5)

11.3 (9.5 – 13.8)

McIntosh

77 (50 - 100)

16.2 (11.5 - 23)

2.9 (1 - 8)

12.6 (11 – 15.5)

Honeycrisp

60 (30 - 80)

16.1 (13 - 19)

3.6 (1.5 - 6)

12.5 (10.2 – 16)

Jonagold

55 (30 – 80)

17.6 (14 – 21)

1.6 (1 – 3)

12.8 (12 – 14)

Golden Delicious

22 (5 – 50)

15.5 (13.5 – 21)

3 (2 – 5)

14 (12.5 – 14.4)

Gala. Approaching mature (two samples). Firmness is at 18.6 pounds, down from 20.6 pounds. Starch index is at 2.0, up from 1.4 and brix levels are up to 11.3. Color has improved to nearly 80 percent on our two samples, but growers are still waiting on color on older strains of Gala.

McIntosh. Approaching mature (three samples). Firmness is at 16.2 pounds, down from 18.1 pounds. Starch index is at 2.9, up from 1.6, and the brix level has increased to 12.6. Color has improved to 77 percent.

Honeycrisp. Approaching mature (three samples). Firmness is at 16.1 pounds, down from 18.0 pounds. Starch index is at 3.6, up from 1.7, and the brix level has increased to 12.5. Color has improved to 60 percent. Background of most apples is still green. This variety needs multiple pickings over several weeks for premium quality fruit. Watch for the first two to three apples per tree to color for the first picking.

Jonagold. Immature (two samples). Firmness is at 17.6 pounds, starch index is at 1.6, brix level is 12.8 and color is 55 percent.

Golden Delicious. Approaching mature (one sample). Firmness is at 15.5 pounds, starch index is at 3.0, brix level is 14.0 and color (blush) is 22 percent. Maturity may vary among blocks as only one sample has been tested.

Looking for more? View Michigan State University Extension’s Apple Maturity Program and Reports resource page for regional reports throughout the state and additional resources.

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