It’s alarming when apples start dropping, but having several apples fall before they are actually ripe for picking is normal. Do not be alarmed and feel that you need to harvest the entire tree right away. In fact, not all of your apples will be ready at the same time. Typically apples along the outer edges of the tree will ripen before those towards the center of the tree.
Here are five tips on how to tell if your apples are ripe for picking.
Variety: Knowing the variety of apple you have can help you narrow down when you should start to consider whether or not your apples need picking. Apples and crab apples can typically be classified as early summer (July to mid August), mid-summer (mid-August to early September) or fall apples (mid-September to October).
If you don’t know the variety, no problem, there are plenty of other ways to judge ripeness.
Colour: Look carefully at the color of your apples, especially the base or ground color – it may be green, creamy or yellow. Watch it change as the apples mature and wait for the entire apple to change. Unless you have a green apple variety like Granny Smith, most apples will turn a softer shade of green or even a creamy yellow when they’re fully ripe.
Easy picking: Ripe apples come off a tree quite easily – they don’t need to be tugged or pulled. Simply hold the bottom of the apple, lift it against the stem and twist. If it doesn’t come off easily, it’s not ripe.
Pip colour: Pick an apple and slice it open to see what color the pips or seeds are. A ripe apple, no matter what size or variety, will have dark brown pips. Here’s the pips in one of our apples that fell off the tree mid-July. Notice that one seed is just starting to turn brown while the two beside it are still white. Even though the apple fell off the tree, it is no where near being ripe enough to pick.