[NAFEX] fruit bagging

Jim Cooper JCooper at lewiston.k12.id.us
Mon Sep 19 18:17:16 EDT 2005

I have used plastic bags for 2 years now and have had great success! Before  I had almost 95% bad fruit even with sprying in previous 6  years. Now after 2 years I have 95% perfect fruit. Last year I did use both zip lock (cheap ones from WMart, 1-2 cents each) and fold lock tops that I stapled near the stem. This year I used only zip lock bags and I did not staple them as I did some last year for both types of bags. Yes it is one fruit per bag and any size would work, I use sandwich size, and that held a very large fuji, and will hold even a too big apple with out any problem. If the apple gets bigger than the bag it will just stretch it!

I had about 1% blow down with the bag empty. I had about 1% late tree apple thinning, so the bag and the fruit both fell.

Both years I waited until the fruit size was about 3/4" to 1 1/4" I thinned and then I bagged the remaining fruit. Some times on the same step others several days apart. I have talked to one guy that bags the fruit blossom cluster as soon as possible after polination (pedal fall) and that keeps the PC plum curlio? off the earliest problem in some areas. Then after the apples size up he opens up the zipper type bag and then thins and reuses the zipper.

I did use an insecticide spray at petal fall, and maybe one other 7-10 days later. This protected until the bags were on.

I have now harvested 2 of my apple trees. I had some sun scald on bagged and unbagged apples, this is a different coloring and sometimes a split in the skin on the south west side of the tree. We have many days in the 90's and 100+ F so I think this heat  is the cause not the bags.

I have had a few (5-10) apples with water in the bag. Most of these the apple is just fine. I have trimmed the bottom corners of all bags, leaving about 1/2" opening to drain water, so this is not full of water just some droplets. Last year I had more with some fungal problems with water in the bag. I have seen a few maybe 5 with a black blossom end. Less splitting and spots this year but not all picked yet.

So after bagging 1000+ apples I have 900+ great looking apples, I harvest and leave the bags on for storrage. I did not do this last year but have read it helps keep them longer. We are entering some in the county fair this week and usually get several awards for the apple, peaches, and nectarenes not bagged though; also our garden vegies too!

When I finish with the remaining 3 trees I will give a follow up with data from the control on a tree that had more problems last year with fungal spots in bags, and so this year I did about 1/2 of the apples and so I will have some comparison of baged and unbagged. Data!

I know that I have had a few, 2-3 with codling moth damage with the bag. But I also know that the # of unbagged fruit most have damage from bugs. I would guess over 50% damaged unbagged. Most of these fall earlier because they ripen faster. We still trim and eat these but these are bruised also.

I have also seen much control from the bird damage, with the bags almost no damage, with out the bag over 50 % of the remaining fruit this is high because of the low #'s of unbagged and they are hungry!

N. Idaho
Zone 6

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