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Apple
7 months ago

Apple

Resource by Plusfarm

Apple is a hardy deciduous temperate fruit tree that needs low temperatures of around 13⁰C to break dormancy. There are apple cultivars with a low chilling requirement that can do well in areas that do not experience low temperatures. Alternatively, dormancy can be realized through the use of chemicals or mechanically through defoliation to induce early dormancy. We can ascertain that apples can do well pretty much in most parts of Kenya, even in areas experiencing high temperatures, as long as the right cultivars are used. Fruit production might vary in different climatic conditions, but one can get a substantial harvest.


Varieties

 

Variety

Description

Top red

Skin: Deep red.

Flesh: White.

Texture: Gentle crunch.

Taste: Super sweet.

Brae burn

Skin: An attractive mix of red and green.

Flesh: White.

Taste and texture: Sweet and very crunchy when fresh

Fuji

pink speckled flush over a yellow-green background. It is also crisp and juicy, with dull white flesh which snaps cleanly. 

Golden Dorset

Sweet aromatic apple with yellow fruit and a delightful pink blush and firm white flesh. The low chill requirement allows it to be grown in subtropical climates

Winter banana

The fruit is bright yellow and blushes with rosy pink. It has crisp, tangy, and juicy flesh that is highly aromatic with a mild, banana-like flavour

Anna

It is large and has light greenish-yellow skin with a slight red blush. The Anna Apple fruit is sweet, slightly tart, and crisp with a creamy white flesh

 


Cultivation

Apples do well in areas with an annual rainfall of 800 to 1800 mm. It performs best in altitudes of 1800-2800m above sea level. Apples can do well in different soil types as long as the soil is deep, fertile, properly aerated, and well-drained. Sufficient soil moisture is desired during bud break and fruit set for proper fruit quality and yield. Most apple cultivars are not sufficiently self-pollinating; it is advisable to plant other cultivars that act as pollinators, these include bananas, Jonathan, and golden Dorset.

The apples require a day temperature of above 18 degrees Celsius and a night temperature of above 13 degrees Celsius to break dormancy. Optimum night and day temperature of about 6-8 degrees Celsius will enable complete bud breaking. A spacing of 2-3m between plants and 3-4m from row to row is ideal. They prefer sandy-loamy soil that runs deep and drain easily with a recommended PH of 5.5-6.5. Loamy soils, rich in organic matter and having proper drainage and aeration are suitable for cultivation. Dry temperate areas are suitable for apple cultivation. 

 


Pests and Diseases / Commonly Used Agrochemicals

 

Disease

Symptoms

Management

Apple scab

Yellow/necrotic spots on leaves; dark olive-green spots on leaves and fruit, twisting of leaves

Remove all leaves dropped from the tree  and compost to prevent any disease surviving in debris

Powdery mildew

Leaves Infected along the leaf margin may be curled crinkled or folded longitudinally

Where infestations are low, pruning of infected terminal shoots is an effective control method

Leaf spot

Begins as tiny purple specks/flecks on the front of the leaf. The flecks expand rapidly into irregularly shaped often concentric lesions

In severe infestations leaves turn yellow and drop off

Remove infected leaves/dead twigs

Keep foliage dry

Armillaria root rot

Apples may develop large dark-colored , oozing cankers and mycelial fans, white fan-like structures under the bark

Exposing the crown of the tree

Removal of dead trees and infected stumps

Excavation around root crown

Don't plant the tree with graft union below the soil line

 


Post Harvest

To ensure maximum storage life, apples should be harvested when mature but not yet fully ripe or overripe. If harvested before they have matured, apples will have poor eating quality, will be more susceptible to storage disorders such as scald, cork spot, and bitter pit, and may not ripen properly. Ripe fruit should be avoided because it will continue to ripen in storage, rapidly becoming too soft and mealy for sale. Firmness and the level of soluble solids in the apple are good indicators of maturity to use in determining picking time.

Apples are very susceptible to bruising and other forms of mechanical damage and therefore should not be handled any more than necessary. Workers harvesting apples should be cautioned not to drop them or handle them roughly. The effects of bruising and scuffing cannot be reversed. Damage from rough handling will accelerate deterioration, reducing the value of the product. Although respiration cannot be halted completely, the objective of postharvest cooling is to slow the process and thus increase storage life.

Even if apples are to be stored for only a short period, it is still very important that the field heat be removed from them as soon as possible. Rapid cooling will not injure the apples. They may be either hydro cooled or forced-air cooled without removing them from the bulk boxes. If they are hydro cooled, they can also be drenched with a scald inhibitor and fungicide in the same operation. Although respiration cannot be halted completely, the objective of postharvest cooling is to slow the process and thus increase storage life.

 Apples are moderately susceptible to freeze damage. Temperatures more than 1 or 2 degrees below freezing should be avoided. All varieties require a relative humidity from 90 to 95 percent, which may require adding water vapor to the air in the storage room with one or more humidifiers. Maintaining the humidity within this range will reduce weight loss, but humidity near the saturation point (100 percent) will encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi.

 

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