Author Topic: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples  (Read 405 times)

eez0

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Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« on: August 19, 2022, 05:57:35 AM »
So I live in an 11b area of the Canary Islands.

Apples should not bear fruit because the temperature is not chill enough. However, there are plenty of apple trees everywhere, even on public spaces, all with fruit.

Given this situation, I'm considering planting 3 varieties close together to grow into a "single tree", but prior to that, I'm trying to understand why are they bearing fruit if the chilling requirements are not met?

Pokeweed

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2022, 06:51:16 AM »
Apples will produce fruit without chilling hours. They put on multiple light flushes of growth typically after a rain or a weather event. I'm in 9a and have an apple that produces. There is a guy on another forum that sponsors a productive apple orchard in Kenya? D

Galatians522

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2022, 11:48:31 PM »
This is a very interesting discussion. For one thing hardiness zones tell you very little about chill. I know that here in Florida 9b we grew several apple varieties. The Ein Scheimer never bloomed with more than a flower or two in close to 10 years and never set a fruit. Anna set a few. Dorset Gold bloomed some but set very little fruit due to poor pollination. Tropic Sweet had the most fruit, but I think that is because it was self pollinating. Personally, I think the concept of chill is poorly understood. Its more than just the number of hours below 45 and above 32.

Pokeweed

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2022, 07:24:24 AM »
We had 2 producing ein shemers, but a hurricane pushed 1 over. The survivor flushes probably 100+ fruit a couple of times a year. We also have anna, golden dorsett and several other varieties from the grower in Cali that I mentioned. All too small to produce yet. The win shemer seems to trigger when drought breaks or some other weather event occurs.

1rainman

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2022, 11:27:24 AM »
We had some supposedly low chill hour apples in south Florida. They never got fruit and didn't grow much. Maybe it was the soil or maybe it was too hot for them. Whatever it is apples are not a good option in Florida. We had a low chill hour plum, it did get plums occasionally, though it never did real well. The low chill peaches grew and produced like crazy and were really well adapted to Florida.

I have heard of people growing temperate plants in the tropics, such as grapes. They could use drought or whatever to induce dormancy. But even though they don't get cold weather, they also don't have the heat and humidity of a place like Florida where those grapes would quickly die of fungus or just struggle with the high temps in summer. A cooler climate like California might work for apples, despite the lack of chilling hours, it doesn't get real hot in the summer. Apples don't like hot weather.

eez0

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2022, 12:23:00 PM »
I finally pulled the trigger today. Got an Anna and African Blush, both advertised as "ideal for seashore" apple trees, meaning they had very low chill requirements. And the third one I got was a Top Red. Dunno about the chill requirements for this one, but if this nursery is selling it (it's located near the coast), I assume it has low chill requirements too.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2022, 05:08:31 PM by eez0 »

1rainman

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2022, 08:15:25 PM »
The coast can be ok because it has a cooling effect in summer. The issue with apples are days above 90 or above 100. It doesn't die but doesn't do photosynthesis at those temps so no growth or fruit. A lot of northern grape varieties are the same while native grapes grow in heat.

Pokeweed

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2022, 06:50:25 AM »
My ein shemer ripened over 100 apples through July. The temperature was over 90F everyday, and over 100F most days.

Aiptasia904

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Re: Trying to understand chilling hours for apples
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2022, 08:10:22 AM »
Chill hours are an average of temperatures below 45f. for better fruit set in temperate plants. There are a few varieties of apples that will do fine with low chill hours such as ana, tropic sweet, joy's apple, etc.. Some have been developed in breeding programs such as Golden Dorsett and some are heirlooms that have been discovered growing in subtropical zones (Joy's, Arkansas black, etc.). I'm not sure of the origin of the middle eastern varieties but no matter as long as they've adapted to the warmer growing temperatures they might do just fine in FL. I do know that zone pushing apples in south Florida usually means struggling or unsuccessful plants. There are smaller apple varieties like crab apples that do a lot better in the heat if yours aren't successful, but i'd focus on the lowest chill hour apple trees you can find and get a few of them if they're not self-fertile.

 

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