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ABOUT THIS EPISODE
"How about them apples?"
While it's often said in jest, there really is a lot to know and learn about apples. As one of the most popular fruits consumed in the United States – competing closely with bananas – apples are great to eat, cook with, and grow (if you plan carefully and make several choices wisely). To grow apples well in your backyard, you need to start by picking a good site, choosing the right cultivars, and making wise selections of apple varieties. Start by checking out some of our best Extension resources and connecting with our experts who "think apples" much of the time!
GET THE FACTS!
Ohio is one of the top 10 states in apple production in the United States. It produces around 50 different varieties, including several Ohio originals. Each of the Ohio apple varieties possesses its own appearance, flavor, and texture characteristics. For best results, select the apple variety according to its intended use.
We have several free fact sheets available on Ohioline to learn more about growing apples as well as preventing and treating various diseases and common pests of apple trees:
- Growing Apples in the Home Orchard
- Scab of Apple
- Rusts of Apple
- Fire Blight of Apples and Pears
- Necrotic Leaf Blotch of Golden Delicious Apples
- Apple Powdery Mildew
- Bitter Rot of Apples
- and many more...
Growing fresh fruit in your own backyard can be a fun way to put tasty treats on your table, but there are also many decisions to make as you think about growing apples. It's time to think about cultivars, soil conditions, planting and pruning techniques, fertilization, and pest and disease management.
Check out Buckeye Yard & Garden onLine (BYGL) for current information about Ohio growing conditions, pest, disease, and cultural problems.
History lesson: An American legend, Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and several other states. He was born in Massachusetts in 1774, and traveled throughout the country over the years. There are numerous resources online to help you take a look back in time and learn more about John’s efforts to plant nurseries (versus orchards), many of them in the Mohican River area of north-central Ohio.
CONNECT WITH OUR EXPERTS!
Several scientists in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences are working to make apples even better for us. Jessica Cooperstone and her research team are studying flavor, disease resistance, storage life, and many other characteristics and components of apples.
Dr. Cooperstone is an assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, as well as the Department of Food Science and Technology. Her team members include Jonathan Fresnedo Ramirez, assistant professor, and Diane Miller, associate professor, both in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science; Emmanuel Hatzakis, asistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology; and Emma Bilbrey, a former horticulture and crop science graduate student.
This team has developed a new platform to hold data from more than 100 apple varieties, which could dramatically improve the breeding process for apples and help scientists and growers boost the health benefits of apples. They are literally Getting to the Core of a More Nutritious Apple. The paper that describes how they are conducting the research has been published by the New Phytologist Foundation.
CONNECT WITH OTHER APPLE ENTHUSIASTS!
The 2021 Great Apple Crunch will be held at noon on October 14. Join more than 300,000 Ohio youth and adults in crunching to celebrate Ohio farmers, healthy kids, strong communities, and Farm to School month! Participating in the Crunch is simple – buy, serve, and crunch into locally grown apples. Get free Crunch stickers and the Crunch Guide – which tells you where to find local apples, tasty apple recipes, and social media sharing tips – when you register at go.wisc.edu/rjw2e3.