Northwest Michigan apple maturity report – September 2, 2015

Gingergold harvest is underway in northwest Michigan.

Apple harvest began last week in northwest Michigan and overall quality is variable in orchards across the region following severe storms that brought high winds and hail to the area. In orchards that were unfortunately in the swath of storms that passed through this summer, fruit with punctured skin and bruises are abundant, especially on the west side of rows or the western facing surface of the fruit. Orchards that were outside of the swath have less fruit injury, but some were still impacted by high winds. Fruit are sizing and coloring well where trees were adequately thinned and some blocks with heavier loads have smaller fruit.

Pest pressure has been generally low this season with the exception of some hot spot blocks that had high numbers of codling moth and a few orchards with high levels of scab infection during the primary scab season this spring. We received a minimal amount of rainfall over the weekend 0.15 inch, and predicted temperatures for the coming week are hot in the 80s with warm nights in the 60s. There are a few chances for rain on Thursday and possibly over the weekend or early next week, and some rain will help fruit size.

Gingergold harvest began late last week and growers are thinking about starting to pick SweeTango next week. We have started maturity testing on Galas, McIntosh and Honeycrisp. However, these varieties are hard as a rock, still too starchy when eaten straight from the tree and not ready for fresh market. Growers are anticipating good prices for fresh market apples this year due to challenging apple producing conditions across the country.

Summary of northwest Michigan apple maturity samples taken Aug. 31, 2015


Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. pressure (range)

Starch (range)

Brix (range)


57.5 (36.5 – 84)

23 (22.9 – 23.1)

1 (1 – 1)

9.9 (9.4 – 10.4)


81 (75 – 86)

20.5 (20.1 – 20.95)

1 (1 – 1)

11 (10.6 – 11.4)


34 (17.5 – 50)

19.3 (18.8 – 19.8)

1.1 (1 – 1.1)

10.7 (9.5 – 11.9)

Gingergold. Mature. Many growers started harvesting this variety last week and harvest is ongoing.

Gala. Not mature (three samples). Galas are still very firm at 23 pounds this week. Brix and starch index levels are low. There is a wide range in percentage of color at this time.

McIntosh. Not mature (two samples). Firmness is at 20.5 pounds and the starch index at 1. Brix levels are low at 11.

Honeycrisp. Not mature (two samples). Firmness is at 19.3 pounds, starch index is at 1.1 and brix level is at 10.7. Similar to Gala, there is also a broad range in percentage of color 17.5 – 50.5 percent.

Looking for more? View Michigan State University Extension’s Apple Maturity Program and Reports resource page for regional reports throughout the state and additional resources.

Did you find this article useful?

You Might Also Be Interested In