Alternate Opportunities For Small Farms: Apple Production Review ( Publisher's URL )

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Alternate Opportunities For Small Farms: Apple Production Review
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Fact sheet
Crocker, Timothy E.
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
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"First Published: June 1987. Revised January 1994."
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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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1.This document is Fact Sheet RF-AC003, one of a series of the Extension Administration Office, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida. First Published: June 1987. Revised Januar y 1994. Please visit the FAIRS Web site at .The Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without re g ard to race, color, sex, a g e, handicap, or national ori g in. For information on obtainin g other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean2.T. E. Crocker, professor; W. B. Sherman, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department; T. D. Hewitt, associate professor, NFR EC, Quinc y ; and Kathleen C. Ruppert, assistant professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.7Fact Sheet RF-AC003Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Apple Production Review1 T. E. Crocker, W. B. Sherman, T. D. Hewitt, and Kathleen C. Ruppert2Florida apples are not like apples grown in the Northa potential alternative. There are no organized marketing or Northwest in quality and/or color. If the consumer ischannels for apples in Florida. used to northern apples, you may have a hard time marketing Florida apples. The major production area forPrices received for fruit vary tremendously and yield apples has traditionally been the North and Northwestrecords are unknown. For pick-your-own and portion of the United States. With controlled atmospherediversification, one or 2 acres may be fine. Apples are storage the quality of apples is maintained throughout thegenerally ready June 15th to July 1st and will store about year.two months under refrigeration when picked mature. Although there has been discussion of using apples as an alternative crop, the apple varieties introduced (Anna and Dorsett Golden) were primarily developed for the homeowner. At the time of their introduction it was known their commercial development would be limited due to their intensive management requiring excellent horticultural skills. It should be remembered that fruit may look good on the tree, but not in a commercial fruit display next to controlled atmosphere stored apples.Marketin g SituationAt the present time the commercial acreage is small. (they generally only reach 30-40% red blush). Fruit of Selling through the local trade is the primary means ofAnna have been held under refrigeration satisfactorily for marketing. Most operations are pick-your-own with some6 weeks. Apples require cold storage to hold the sold through direct marketing outlets. Potential marketingfruit--between 35 to 40 F. outlets include: u-pick, roadside stands, produce markets and local grocery stores. Production of apple cider may beLabor and CapitalIt usually takes 3 years from planting before you harvest the first crop. During the first and second years any fruit produced should be removed to allow the tree to divert its energy into growing more leaves and limbs. Excellent management is required. Hand labor is needed for pruning, thinning and picking. Trees will grow tall enough to require ladders for picking. Apples ripen satisfactorily on the tree and they should be picked when they have reached optimum size and color


Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Apple Production Review Pa g e 8June 1998Commercial grove records from Georgia indicate abut you would have to contract ahead of time for large total per acre cost of producing and packing apples oforders. $2,200 per acre from a 100 acre grove. Smaller acreages in Florida would probably incur per acre costs 10 to 15 percent higher.Suitabilit y Apple trees grow best if planted on a fertile sandybut from production in neighboring states, apple loamy soil with deep drainage. It is advisable to select aproduction will require at least 18 to 22 sprayings per site which allows good air drainage to reduce frost damageyear. Anna is very susceptible to powdery mildew to blooms in the late spring. For apple production youwhereas Dorsett Golden is not. Rabbit control is also also want to have sites with low spring frost risks andimportant as they eat the bark of apple trees during the areas free of mushroom root rot.winter months and can kill the tree by girdling the trunk. Water should be applied through the dry springFertilizer requirements for apple trees are largely months and other dry periods. The area beneath theunknown for Florida conditions and tremendous canopy of the trees should be wet to a depth of several feetnutritional problems are still being exhibited. Calcium at each irrigation which may require more than 50 gallonsand boron deficiencies are very common. Another of water per tree for large trees or as little as 5 to 10problem is thinning of fruit for larger size, as research has gallons for young trees. Irrigation may be required every 7not been done in Florida. to 10 days under extremely dry conditions. Drip irrigation is recommended due to decreased disease problems.Cultivation is usually necessary only for weed control damage to the root system. Chemical weed control isPlantin g SituationApple cultivars are not true to type when grown from seed. Therefore, growers are advised to obtain known cultivars on suitable rootstock. Standard rootstocks are used in Florida as the dwarfing rootstocks do not hold up well under Florida conditions. Anna apple is highly self-unfruitful and should be planted with the pollenizer Dorsett Golden to insure good fruit set. There are different planting schemes available to achieve pollination. A 20 X 20 foot spacing is normally recommended but one can also use a 15 X 20 foot spacing. It is quite easy to obtain a few apple trees from nurseries Cultural Pro g ramPreventive control for all insects and diseases is required to maintain healthy trees and good fruit quality. Research on insect and disease control has been limited, and should be done as shallow as possible to avoid standard but care should be taken on previously tilled land to determine what and when herbicides have been used on the acreage previously to see if the same herbicides are compatible with apples. Young apple trees should be pruned to a modified leader system. On 2-year-old trees, 5 to 6 strong scaffold limbs should be selected to develop a strong framework. These limbs should have wide angles almost perpendicular to the trunk of the tree, should be radially spaced around the tree trunk and vertically spaced approximately 6-8 inches from each other up or down the trunk. Later pruning of the tree will be to remove diseased or dead wood and to trim the tree to the desired shape.