The Problem with Droppers

Some of my favorite fruits tend to drop the moment they reach the point of perfect ripeness. I’m experiencing this with my Heath Cling peaches right now and anything that drops overnight gets damaged by rabbits. I need to make daily visits to the tree and harvest all fruit at t he point of ripeness I want it.

This year the dropping problem has for some reason been much worse than usual with apples, with almost full sized fruit dropping prematurely. I’ve lost a lot of crop this way and more when I assumed dropping meant it was time to harvest.

My so called Ashmead’s Kernel (there is some question if it might be English Golden Russet) started dropping a lot of fruit 4 weeks ago so I decided I should harvest it and ended up removing half the fruit before it was good enough to bother keeping or even give away. The ones on the tree I picked today are so much better flavored and the early ones did not ripen up in storage.

Some varieties like Baldwin tend to ripen on the tree very gradually every year. Baldwin tastes like tart cardboard until the background turns fully from green to yellow and then it is one of the best apples I’ve ever tasted (as grown in the northeast). But it always drops within a day or so of achieving that level of ripeness and only a few apples ripen a day during its long ripening season.

Thank goodness for the likes of Goldrush, which takes forever to ripen but never drops or turns mushy here form being on the tree too long. I can’t say the same for many of my other favorite apples.

Droppers; Macintosh, Honeycrisp, Staymen, Ashmead, Kidd’s Orange Red, Baldwin, Newtown, Irwin Bauer, Ginger Gold…

Feel free to add to my woefully inadequate list.

I too had to go out every day (after netting the tree) to pick up droppers from my Mott Pink. It being one of my all time favorites apples, I got tired of rabbits gnawing on them. They are all in the house now.

Funny but my dropper was Goldrush. Gingergold has never dropped anything.

That is interesting. Here I see Goldrush still attached to the tree in January. But I have to admit that Ginger Gold is not the worst offender and allows some fruit to turn to mush on the tree.

Empire

Liberty -ripens gradually (this year over a period of weeks) with some of the hangees getting mushy and some not.

Ginger gold hold pretty well for me

Reine de rennet, one of my favorites, is a terrible offender with early drop.

Kidd’s doesn’t drop for me.

Alan,

We like a lot of the same apples.

Thanks for sharing your experiences on this.

When do you plan to pick your Goldrush?

I hear you on the Baldwin, I am patrolling my trees of that variety daily to gather fruit off the ground. Great apple with some pest and disease resistance though, so worth it to me.

Baldwin is the apple that made me interested in heirlooms. I used to read about it in taste tests where it was all over the map but half the time considered a top apple- when I tasted it, mostly as recent drops, I fell in love with its dense aromatic flesh. For a few years it was my favorite apple. Now I don’t have a favorite apple to eat off the tree. I favor Godrush because it is so good out of storage.

I will ;pick my Goldrush as late as possible, most likely. This year is hard to predict.

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Funny story- I took my son outside at night onto the deck in mid-August to see the meteor showers, and while we were sky watching, I heard an apple thump to the ground from a nearby tree.
“Did you hear the meteor fall?” I asked my boy.
I did tell him I was joking the next morning…

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Macoun is a dropper even before it’s always ripe, but is my favorite Mac type Apple. My libertys are really big this year which is strange with not watering them except from the rare rain showers we had and they are good right now and dropping big time. My Gold Rush stay on forever.

Heath is a bad dropper for me, its one of its biggest faults. I pick a lot of them up from the ground; they are hard enough that they are not damaged much from the fall.

I agree with Rob on Reine des Reinettes. But I am never sure on droppers, if the deer get into things they will knock off a lot. I had thought Blenheim was dropping but the tree is really low and I think it was deer - this year very few dropped.