Roxbury russet watercore

Had my first harvest of Roxbury Russet this year and the watercore was terrible. It was so bad I could not enjoy the apples. We had a record breaking number of days over 90 degrees which may have been part of the problem. Also some sunburn on the apples on the south side of the trees.

Is watercore a normal problem with this apple?

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HMy RR set fruit in second leaf and I let it keep a few, which were heavily watercored. This year (third leaf) I let it keep a few more and they only had light watercore. I think I read that watercore is not uncommon for the first few years of bearing…

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That’s too bad. I’ve never heard of that before with Rox. Some people don’t mind it. Some even like it. But I hate watercore! I have seen it with some commercially grown Honeycrisp, which to my taste, ruined those particular specimens.

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My Rox, in its 10th leaf, has not had an issue with watercore

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I see it on Roxburry Russet every year. It does seem to make them more prone to spoiling.

I’ve never seen Rox with WC here in NY and CT. It is by far the most reliable and productive russet I manage here. I wonder if WC is your problem because in other varieties where it is common, such as Fuji and Tompkins King, apples with it are delicious- it is a sign of very high brix. I’ve read the Japanese pay more for WC Fujis. It doesn’t badly effect anything besides storage ability as far as I know.

It will appear more often on hot, dry years that are conducive to high brix.

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I’ve read and heard of watercore yet I’ve not experienced it in any apple I’ve ever eaten. Like Alan, I read that Japanese consumers pay high premiums for apples with WC. Which I don’t really understand because isn’t it impossible to spot without cutting the apple open? Can you look at a bushel of apples and pick out those with WC just by sight?

It was very wet early and then hot and dry late this year, so perhaps the weather was part of the problem. I’m going to take the Rox and the Stayman that split and mix them together for cider.

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Splitting has nothing to do with watercore in my experience. Where I’ve had a problem with apples splitting is at wet sites on wet years and only certain varieties. Last year at a site with 4 large N. Spy trees and 80 other various varieties, it was the only type affected. There were no useable N. Spy apples, and yet at sites that had soil that retained less water the N. Spys were fine.

This year, which has been dry, the N. Spy apples at this site are fine- so far.

I’m actually talking about two different problems, both which produce apples that are not sell-able. Watercore on the Rox and splitting on the Stayman. Good to hear your N Spy are fine this year. Stayman is one of my favorite apples, but if I have a major splitting problem next year its going to become another variety. Hopefully the Rox will improve next year.

What is your soil texture?

sandy loam with red clay at about 15 inches. The soil drains well but the organic matter content is very low

Yes sometimes you can, the skin will look a little darker or deeper in color where the watercored areas reach the surface.

It is not just a matter of 15 inches of well drained soil. It is about access to water- the tree isn’t trying to grow the best possible apples- it is trying to grow high and thick to monopolize its place in the sun. Continuous access to all the water a tree wants encourages excessively vigorous growth and more watery fruit. Fruit splitting, but I doubt water core (I see that on dry, sunny seasons) could be encouraged by this access.