Honeycrisp in Maine
Honeycrisp is well suited to production in Maine. It has sufficient cold hardiness for survival in northern Maine and colors well in most years.
Honeycrisp is a low vigor variety and can be planted at closer spacings than most other varieties. The rootstocks M.9 and Bud.9 have insufficient vigor for Honeycrisp in Maine, and may runt out. The more vigorous M.9 clones and G.11 are appropriate for close tree spacings of 3 to 4 feet. Dwarfing rootstocks with more vigor, M.26 and G.16 are suitable rootstocks for the soils and climate of Maine and are typically planted at a spacing of 5 to 6 feet. Honeycrisp is not as precocious as most other varieties, so semidwarfing rootstocks, M.7, MM.106 and MM.111 will further delay production. G.30 and G.935 have better precocity and are recommended for semidwarf Honeycrisp.
The graft union is weak in Honeycrisp on many rootstocks. Consequently, trees require a strong support system regardless of the rootstock.
Due to the high degree of bitter pit susceptibility, repeated foliar applications of a calcium product are needed from June to harvest.
Thinning suggestions and disease susceptibility can be found under recommendations for New York.
Harvest typically occurs from mid to late September, when starch index of 5 or more, based on the Cornell chart (0 to 8), is reached. Harvest at earlier stages of maturity can increasethe chance of bitter pit developing during storage.
Honeycrisp is not susceptible to superficial scald, but is highly susceptible to soft scald, soggy breakdown, bitter pit and flavor loss.
To prevent chilling injury (soft scald and soggy breakdown), store at a temperature of 37 F (3 C) or warmer. To reduce the occurrence of chilling injury in fruit that have been harvested in the latter part of the harvest window, use delayed cooling, where fruit are held at ambient temperatures (50 to 68 F) for five to seven days before placing in cold storage. Fruit harvested at earlier stages of maturity and then subjected to delayed cooling must be stored at 37 F to prevent chilling injury.
The effect of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage on Honeycrisp is considered experimental at this time. Early studies have shown that carbon dioxide concentrations that are typically used with many other varieties will cause internal browning and cavities in Honeycrisp. Where Honeycrisp will be placed in CA storage, maintain the oxygen level above 2% and carbon dioxide below 1%.
Excellent color on Maine apples. Photo by Renae Moran.
- Moran, R, J DeEll, and D Murr. 2010. Effects of preconditioning and fruit maturity on the occurrence of soft scald and soggy breakdown in 'Honeycrisp' apples. HortScience 45:1719-1722.
- Moran, RE, JE DeEll, and W Halteman. 2009. Effects of preharvest precipitation, air temperature, and humidity on the occurrence of soft scald in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. HortScience 44:1645-1647.
- Watkins, C., Erkan, M., Nock, J., Beaudry, R., Moran, R. 2005. Harvest date effects on maturity, quality, and storage disorders of 'Honeycrisp' apples. HortScience. 40:164-169.
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