When Should You Pick Apples From The Tree

When Should You Pick Apples From The Tree?
Many apple aficionados enjoy the pleasure of picking fresh apples from the tree, straight from the source. But when is the best time to pick apples from the tree? There are a few key things to keep in mind when harvest season rolls around.
First, the sturdiness and sweetness of apples vary depending on the variety of the tree. Time of harvest will also depend on the region you live in, as well as weather and climate conditions. As a rule of thumb, apples should be left on the tree until fully ripe before harvesting. You can tell that an apple is ripe when the fruit is crisp and slightly soft, and will easily separate from the tree with a gentle twist or pull.
Next, it’s important to assess the variety of apples you are working with in order to determine when is the right time to pick. Early or ‘storage’ apples are usually ready in late summer and should be picked before they overripen. On the other hand, late season apples will remain on the tree until early fall, and can be picked when the fruit has turned to a deep red, yellow, or orange shade.
It’s also important to consider the size of the apple being harvested. Very large apples that linger on the tree will become rock-hard and dry, losing sweetness as time goes on. On the other side of the spectrum, smaller apples should still be left to mature on the tree until they have reached full size, or they can be harvested during immature stages for cooking purposes.
Finally, you should check the condition of the tree itself prior to harvest. If the tree has reached maturity, has good fruit color, size, and release from the stem, then it’s safe to harvest its apples. But if the tree looks wilted, ask a horticulturist for advice, as the apples may not be fit for harvesting.

4 considerations when picking apples

Picking apples at the right time of year and from the right type of tree can be a challenge for even the most experienced apple aficionados. There are four primary considerations when deciding when to start your harvest.
Understanding the variety of tree you are working with is the first step. There are hundreds of different apple varieties, and they ripen at different times and to different levels of sweetness. Additionally, the region in which you live will play a role, as weather conditions will have an effect on the ripening time.
Secondly, assessing the size of the apple is key to knowing when to harvest. If the apples are on the smaller side they can be harvested early, while larger apples need to be left on the tree until they have fully ripened. If the apples are over-ripe, they will have lost their sweetness and become dry or mealy.
Thirdly, apples should be picked when ripe. To tell if an apple is ripe, look for a crisp texture and slight tenderness. A light twist or tug will also help you determine readiness, as ripe apples easily separate from the tree.
Finally, check the tree itself. If it looks healthy, then it’s safe to harvest. If there are any signs of wilting, consult with a horticulturist before picking any apples.

Preparing for harvest

When harvesting apples, it’s important to remember that the process doesn’t begin with picking. A few preparatory steps should be taken in order to ensure that the apples remain safe and receive minimal damage, preserving their quality.
First and foremost, brush up on the knowledge of the variety of apple you are planning to pick. Is the variety suited for baking, or eating raw? How long will it remain fresh after harvesting? What will be the best way to store it? All of these questions can be answered by properly understanding the variety that you are picking.
Next, it’s important to check the tree prior to harvesting. Inspect the branches, leaves, and trunk of the tree for any signs of disease or damage. Also, be sure to check that the tree is in a healthy condition and does not show signs of wilting.
It’s also important to not overcrowd your harvesting containers. Overstuffing them can cause the apples to get bruised and damaged, which can shorten their life span after picking. Lastly, make sure that you don’t pick half-ripe apples as these will usually not mature any further, and will remain hard and firm.

Post-harvest care

Once harvesting is complete, it’s vital to take the right measures to ensure the freshly-picked apples are stored in the best possible way.
Firstly, transport the apples in a cool environment in order to preserve their quality. Secondly, inspect the apples before storing – if any of them appear bruised, damaged, or otherwise unappealing, they should be removed and discarded.
Thirdly, store apples at a temperature of around 30-32°F in an environment with 80-90% humidity. If stored in an area with too much humidity, they can develop mold. Additionally, be sure to store apples away from onions, potatoes, and other fruits, as their skin can absorb their ethylene gases and can cause them to overripen and shrivel.
Fourthly, be sure to consume the apples within the recommended time frame, as their freshness, flavor, and nutritional value can all decrease the longer they are in storage. If you want to store the apples for longer than the recommended time, consider freezing or canning them.

Reaping the rewards

After taking all the preparatory and post-harvest steps, you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even the simple pleasure of biting into a sweet, juicy apple straight from the tree can’t be beaten.
If you have the knowledge and the patience to follow the guidelines, you will be able to enjoy high-quality, delicious apples all year round. Their sweet flavor, crunchy texture, and juicy interior will remind you of why you invested all that effort.
In addition to the taste and texture, you’ll also reap the nutritional benefits of apples. Apples are a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals. Eating apples can also help reduce cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar, and prevent illnesses.
When you’re ready to pick, just remember these tips and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying sweet and succulent apples.

Harvesting Equipment

In order to pick apples in a safe and efficient manner, it’s important to have the right equipment on hand. Harvesting bags and boxes are a great choice, as they are specially designed to hold apples in a manner that prevents them from getting bruised and damaged.
Picking tools such as ladders, bear claws, and pole-mounted baskets can also be helpful and make picking much easier. Additionally, apple picking poles are available to help you reach higher branches and reach more fruit.
When it comes to protecting your hands, you can also find specialized pruners and soft-picking gloves. The gloves will protect you from scratches and scrapes, while the pruners will ensure that you don’t damage the fruit or the tree.
For extremely high branches, it’s possible to rent a lift or an orchard tractor. Of course, these methods should be used with caution and safety should always be the top priority.

Tips for safety

Once you have the right equipment, it’s time to start harvesting. But before you do, be sure to take the proper safety measures.
If you’re using a ladder, don’t stand on the highest rung or the top of the ladder, as it can be unsafe. You should also be aware of the weight limit of the ladder, as too much weight can cause it to break.
In addition, be careful when working with pruners and other sharp tools. Protect your eyes, hands, and feet from any potential dangers. If using bear claws or other picking tools, be sure to use them as intended and do not bend or twist them, as this could cause injury.
Finally, be sure to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. Often picking can be an arduous and tiring task, and it’s important to look after your health.
Overall, the process of harvesting can be a rewarding experience. By following these tips, you can make sure you get the best-tasting, highest-quality apples from your tree.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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