While most newly picked apples from local orchards have a healthy sheen ready for market, crop yields are 20% lower because of the June heat wave.
The damage reveals itself on some Honeycrisp apples at Warren Orchards, for example, with many apples marked with dark, soft patches agriculturally known as sunburn.
Especially Honeycrisps, they sunburn real easy,” said Warren Orchards operator Bill Warren in an interview. “There’s a tremendous amount of sunburn in the fruit, and it’s ruined the fruit.”
Trees with less leaf coverage, such as the younger trees that had not developed as much foliage, suffered the most. The effect was compounded on trees located near a road, which absorbed more heat that helped bake nearby apples reports www.union-bulletin.com
In some areas, Warren Orchards had to remove the majority of the crop.
“We waited until after the heat wave, then thinned and cleaned it off as best we could,” Warren said. “Instead of coming in and thinning the fruit which we already do, we cleaned all of the junk fruit off the tree.”
Honeycrisps seem to have suffered the most damage from the overbearing sun and successive 110 degree days earlier in the summer, at least at Warren Orchards.
Warren Orchard’s Gala apples suffered from different problems, though still likely connected back to the June heat wave.
The Galas struggled to get large enough to be able to make the company money — if apples aren’t the right size, they get a lower grade, severely reducing the amount of money the grower can expect.