what happened to my Honeycrisp apples?

Asked September 24, 2020, 2:24 PM EDT

I had an unusually large crop of apples on my single honeycrisp tree this year.
They seemed quite healthy until the last month or 6 weeks.
This is how most of them ended up. I am in Western Washington (Shelton) but there aren't any groups available to answer my question in Washington so I'm turning to you. What can I do to avoid this problem in future crops? The first year that this tree produced apples they were the best apples I have ever eaten. EVER! There is an ailing Pink Lady tree nearby that I have decided to take out this late winter and replace.
Can you suggest a good apple tree to help pollinate the Honeycrisp? Thanks for your help!

Mason County Washington

1 Response

Let’s tackle the easy question first. For a pollinizer, you have to make sure that the two varieties bloom at the same time. Here’s a chart for bloom times. http://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/treefruit.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/W-D_Apple-bloom-chart.png

Here’s a chart that shows the compatible pollinizer varieties: http://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/treefruit.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/12082434/Apple-pollen-chart_ed.png

Now for the more complicated questions. Your apples appear to be infested with Apple Maggot. All of western Washington is under a permanent apple maggot quarantine in hopes that it won’t spread east of the cascades and the commercial apple growers there. There is a prohibition on transporting fresh homegrown or foraged fruit from the quarantine zone into the pest free zone. State law says we have to control apple maggot on our property.

The damage to the apple is caused by a fly that lays its eggs in the apple, and the larvae hatch and eat their way through the apple. It’s a summer-long task to manage this insect. They start laying their eggs in July, and stop in October, so timing is critical. This is a WSU publication that walks you through it step by step. http://pubs.cahnrs.wsu.edu/publications/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/publications/eb1928.pdf If you carefully follow all the instructions, you should have good fruit next year.

This is one of the best publications I’ve seen for organic management of insect pests in home trees. This is the website to the html version, https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec631/html . The PDF version is easier to navigate. Click the PDF button to download a free copy of the publication. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec631