Why apples don’t store well
Storing apples at home is not good for many people. This trouble is familiar to me, a gardener not yesterday. From my two apple trees (one of the summer variety, the other of the autumn variety) I take off up to 30 buckets of fruit. The apple trees are 20 years old, and the first decade of care with storage did not know. But in recent years, kept the harvest only until November, and not always. The reason – the accumulation of infections.
We all know: apples are infected with diseases in the garden. Then, falling and falling with the fruit in the storehouse, pathogens accumulate in the packaging, where our apples are laid, settled on the damp walls of the cellar pits, etc. And if apples have mechanical damage, diseases develop quickly.
What diseases threaten apples
Let’s recall again the characteristics of fungal diseases and fruit rot (moniliosis), scab, gray rot.
We already know that the rainy and cool weather of the growing season contributes to their outbreak. Fruit rot begins with a small brown spot that quickly grows and covers the entire surface of the fruit. The apple flesh becomes brownish brown, loose, and spongy. In autumn, especially if the temperature in the store is high, grayish-white pads form on the infected fruits – this is sporulation of the fungus.
With late infection of fruits, say, during packing, as well as with re-infection during storage, when the technology is violated, which is quite possible with mechanical damage and contact with diseased fruits, with low storage temperature, spore germination may not be, in which case the fruit quickly turns black and mummified.
Infection with the gray rot pathogen can get on the fruit while still in the garden, but its development and re-infection occurs already during storage. Infection can occur if apples are stored in winter together with vegetables, carrots, and cabbage infected with the same type of rot, because the spores spread very easily through the air. The disease appears as soft rot of the fruit with formation of a gray fluffy coating under high humidity conditions.
Scab infection always occurs in the garden, there is no over-infestation during storage. On infected fruits, rounded, sharply outlined, dark spots with well-noticeable spore spot or later almost without it appear. Fruit tissue becomes corky, woody, and cracked at spots. Fruits develop lopsided if infected early. With late infestation, in preharvest period, the spots may be very small, brownish-black, almost imperceptible. They appear only during storage. Fruits affected by scab, though not rotting, if the cracks in the places affected by scab do not get the putrid infection, but have a poor marketable appearance and worse storage.
Shortly before harvesting, fruits may become infected with black or black-root rot. The main conditions for the primary infection of this rot are the bark affected by black canker, especially in older orchards. Late infestation is due to the fact that the fungus settles more readily on mature and sweet fruits. Infestation begins with a brown, slowly increasing in size spot, which then forms small black tubercles protruding from under the skin – these are the spores of the fungus germinating. The fruit turns black and mummifies as in fruit rot, but without the bluish hue and with a rough surface. New over-infestations rarely occur during storage because the fungus spores are almost impossible to germinate without dripping moisture.
Only a complex of sanitary preventive and chemical methods, which we told you about earlier, can reliably protect fruits from scab and rot. Now, when putting in storage, carefully observe the technology, reject sick and damaged apples, handle them carefully so as not to damage the skin.
What else can harm apples
There are so-called physiological diseases of fruits stored at home for a long time. For example, if apples are kept in a room with poor ventilation for a long time, and even at a high temperature, the core will turn brown. Although the fruits do not differ in appearance from healthy, but when you cut it is visible: missing apples – the core is dark brown and filled with juice. This means that the apples once overcooled: either still on the tree, or in the refrigerator. Excess nitrogen in the soil, heavy rains, and – late, in the period of fruit ripening, watering can also contribute to the development of the disease.
Tender, it turns out, this fruit is an apple. It is bad to store it in the heat, but it is not better if the fruit is also in rooms with low temperature, which leads to internal browning of the pulp. Infestation begins in areas 2-3 mm from the skin and then spreads inside the fruit. Fruits from young and low-yielding trees are particularly affected if fertilization is unbalanced, i.e. when nitrogen is in excess and phosphorus, potassium, and calcium are in short supply. Excessive moisture during apple ripening also contributes to the development of a physiological disease called ripening (fruit vitreousness). It occurs most often in the varieties Papirovka and White Bulk. On the surface of the fruit (and it can occur in the garden or in storage) form large translucent areas of irregular shape. On cut, you can see that these areas are filled with juice. The apples become glassy, hard, and heavier. This often occurs in years with warm, sunny autumns when the fruit is overripe. Fruits affected by the infusion are prone to internal browning of the pulp.
You and I know that during cold storage of apples, life processes slow down and changes in the fruit are unnoticeable. But as soon as you bring them into a warm room, the skin darkens, the flesh changes, and the apples are no longer good for anything.
Therefore, if there are a lot of apples, and you want to keep them in winter on the balcony for a long time, I advise every month, and by the end of storage every two weeks to select a dozen apples, keep them at room temperature, monitor their condition and then decide what to do with apples.