Asked September 24, 2018, 3:52 PM EDT

Every year our apples have gotten a mildewy appearance. My husband cut brush down around the tree to give it more sunlight but it’s happening again. We want to know if these apples are edible for cider or apple sauce. Attached is a picture

Eaton County Michigan

1 Response

Your apples have a fairly severe case of sooty blotch and flyspeck, two closely related fungal diseases. These fungi colonize the wax layer on the outside of the fruit and give the fruit a slightly musty "mouthfeel", and shorten the shelf life.

We tend to see more of these diseases on older trees with thick canopies that promote slow drying. Years with more summer rains have more sooty blotch and flyspeck.
The fungicide Captan helps suppress this disorder. Applications start about 3 to 4 weeks after petal fall, reapply after about 3 inches of rain has occurred.