Ines Hanrahan, Tom Auvil, Tree Fruit Research Commission; Kate Evans, WSU. Edited by Tianna DuPont, WSU Extension.
Ines Hanrahan from the Tree Fruit Research Commission discussed a few aspects of WA38 at recent field days that are good for producers to be aware of.
Overall WA 38 has nice quality fruit that stores exceptionally well and retains crispness and flavor. The fruit is red, symmetrical with red-striped blush (55-80%), attractive, with prominent lenticels and medium to large size.
- High packout potential. It has a very narrow size profile with typically 80-90% of fruit in 4 size classes.
- Not sensitive to bruising.
- Storage potential is six months or longer in regular atmosphere storage. 12 months in controlled atmosphere storage is expected with or without 1- MCP. It has no common storage disorders including: water core, internal browning, sensitivity to carbon dioxide or low oxygen, superficial scald, chilling injury, or shrivel.
- Shelf life is exceptional. It retains firmness, crispness and flavor during several weeks of post storage shelf life (at room temperature).
- Eating quality: It has a balanced sweet/tart flavor, firm with excellent crispness and juiciness. It maintains fruit flavor and texture throughout storage. The flesh does not brown easily.
- Sunburn. It is not particularly susceptible to sunburn. There was some buckskin early on this year (2016) but it colored over with no internal browning or water-core. In severe cases water-soaked areas can be observed under the skin of affected areas.
- Limb rub. If WA 38 rubs on a branch or trellis wire, it will get damage just like other apples.
- Mildew. It is susceptible to powdery mildew and can get marks on the fruit if mildew is not handled.
- Leaf marks. If it hangs under a leaf or other apples hang close you will get light colored areas.
- Stem Punctures are possible and incidence usually fluctuates, around 5% of fruit affected.
- Stem length varies. Most notably some fruit have extremely short stems ending well below the shoulder of the fruit. This can lead to fruit being ‘pushed’ off pre harvest, causing pre harvest drop.
- Fruit shape. Young fruit may have more elongated or flatter fruit than the WA 38 typical fruit which is relatively round.
- Other harvest observations. Stem bowl splits are observed frequently at low levels (below 5%) but can rise dramatically if fruit is harvested too late. Fruit can be damaged by fruiting spurs at harvest. Occasionally spurs do not detach when fruit is being picked. WA 38 has a long harvest window since maturity is slow to change. It can be picked in a strip pick some years.