Lowest temps for apples on the tree?

Since you said your apples were ruined this morning, I wonder at what temp (21 ,22?m, 23? ).

I picked mine at 26 F. They were fine. Would mine have been ruined if I left rhem til Fri at 23 F?

It would be good to have a baseline for reference in the future.

@alan, my Gold Rush weren’t fully ripe, either.

I’ve seen them do fine down to 22.

I just tried one that got too cold last night. It still tasted good and wasn’t mush, but lost a lot of its crispness and I’m pretty sure it will degrade very quickly now. Probably saw around 17-19 degrees. Could still be used for sauce or probably even in pies- at least today and tomorrow.

Thank you for your feedback.

For my mental health, I decide I will pick my last apples when temp is around 25-26 F.

Last Thurs morning, temp was at 26F with hard frost. Ice/frost covered everything. Fortunately, my GR apples were in bags so they got protection.

Fri morning was at 23F, quite dry, no frost. I should have left an apple or two to test the temp.

I’d like to be able to store my apples so I won’t wait until it is in a low 20’s.

Hmmm, maybe I should have followed your example. Probably too late to undo the damage.

I got to 21F last night. I’m glad I picked all. Well, I wished I had left one or two so I could assess the damage of 21F.

We had a very warm fall but this 21F came a bit earlier than usual. I usually am picking the last stuff around Thanksgiving here.

Yup, in recent years it’s mostly been staying above 24 here until Thanksgiving. Spring wasn’t real early and the season was so cool and wet that some varieties, like Pink Lady, Braebern and Goldrush could have used a couple more weeks of relative warmth to obtain best quality. I have enough ripe Rush for myself, but will be giving away lots that aren’t at peak. The smaller apples on my nursery trees ripen earlier than the big ones on my orchard trees- I tasted some great Pink Ladies from that source. Maybe for the very late ripeners I should take all the apples off some branches and wait until late to thin the others, so I get smaller riper apples and annual bearing. I’d happily accept a smaller crop of really perfect pink ladies.

concur. this was a fairly unusual cold snap. Thanksgiving is when I do all my final pickings (including roots in the garden).

I was out cleaning up the garden and pulling some carrots/parsnips/beets today. It looks like the few remaining Sundance were damaged by 22, but the few GoldRush I left look fine, at least on the surface. I didn’t have a chance to cut into one, but will try tomorrow afternoon if I have a chance. I’m glad I pulled the majority of apples.

My thermometer says 21F right now and I just placed a Goldrush and Braebern next to the sensor. It is 4:30 and they are small apples (wouldn’t waste a premium one). Temps should’t start rising until 7:00 so it may tell us something. I will start leaving out apples on cold nights. that I expect to be on the cusp of causing damage to the apples and report back. However, cold tolerance will be related to brix levels so this will get a little complicated.


Beside sugar level, do you think density in apples would contribute to how much cold damage each variey would sustain?

For example, would a denser apple like Arkansas Black be less cold damaged than say, a Honey Crisp, left in the same freezing temperature?

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That would be my inadequately tested guess. What’s amazing is how little there is in the literature about apple variety cold tolerance. It is an issue with commercial growers and they often tend to harvest late varieties too soon.


Might they not still be usable for cooking or baking?


I have cooking apples in the house, I wanted to store those. I am guessing I could make a large pot right now, but not in a week.

The apples I put out at 21 degrees were not damaged, but the temp only held for an hour and a half and then gradually started to rise. I will try again next cold spell if temps are predicted to be similar. Put them out in the early eve.

Mine had a funny taste to them and by the looks of them inside would break down in baking.

I was just picking peppers a fewdays ago now into the compost pile they go!

Here is a pic of the Granny Smith I picked a few days ago (see post above on 11/10). The other side was a darker green but this side had some red blush. There was more going on taste wise than just sour. My wife thought it had a “florally taste”. Too bad I only got one this year.


I was thinking sweeter apples would handle lower temps better than tart but now I wonder. A friend’s unknown apples we picked last week are definitely low sugar (based on taste anyway) and are fine so far. And they had gone through many at least 20 degree nights, maybe lower. I had two 16 degrees in my orchard but we’re in a valley. As I mentioned above, some small Black Oxfords I’d left on the tree were OK (I’m storing one to see how it does, but it is a runt apple compared to the main crop picked earlier). One thing both apples have in common is firm/dense texture. Wish I had GoldRush to test! In spite of the late BO’s doing Ok I still wouldn’t leave my main crops on the tree for that low of temps.

I ran across this piece from the Univ Penn. on handling frozen apples which I thought interesting: https://extension.psu.edu/handling-of-frozen-apples Sue

I found one Arkansas Black on the tree this morning and it seemed to take the freeze quite well.