During August we saw apples mature a little earlier than normal and then quickly tree-ripen. Perhaps the most surprising of all has been Daybreak Fuji.
We were surprised when a small sample of Daybreak Fuji apples tested in the last week of August had little starch left in the fruit flesh. Not long after that, Maryland growers started picking the fruit. Last year this variety was tree-ripe on September 15. Maryland growers are reporting they have already picked and sold their 2017 Daybreak Fuji fruit making them ten days earlier in 2017 than 2016, which was also an early year. Any Daybreak Fuji fruit remaining on the tree in the Maryland orchards we sampled this week was overripe. If you have Daybreak Fuji in your orchard, please check your fruit maturity and quality. You may be quite surprised.
Internal fruit maturity and red color development of Daybreak Fuji harvested from tall-spindle plantings in Maryland during the last week of August, 2017. Notice that half of the fruit picked had lost virtually all of their starch. Photo: Kathy Hunt University of Maryland.
Olympic Asian Pear
For the past two years, we have published an alert about internal browning in late-season Asian pears. This has been most noticeable in the late-season Korean variety Olympic, and also problematic in the late-season Chinese cultivar Ya Li. Mike Newell again began monitoring Olympic fruit at the Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown. The WyeREC is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the planting is just above sea level. Samples of Olympic fruit taken right after Labor Day already showed some internal browning (see photo). In some fruit we saw patches of water core which appears to precede the internal browning. This appearance of browning is unfortunate, and much earlier than the appearance of internal browning in 2015 and 2016.
Growers with late-season Asian pears like Olympic or Ya Li need to begin checking their fruit now for internal browning. Consumer education, early-mature harvest and short-term storage are suggested for minimizing losses from internal breakdown in Olympic Asian pears.
Olympic Asian pear internal disorders. Patches of watercore appear to develop first which are followed by internal browning. Photo: Mike Newell, University of Maryland
Honeycrisp and Gala
Maturity studies of these cultivars have been completed in our trials, and the commercial harvest of these is nearing completion in the Mid-Atlantic region.