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Haralson Apple

Malinda x open-pollinated, one of the first introductions from the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Station

originally MN90, released in 1923.

planted 2010, on Antonovka rootstock -- first fruit 2015


Haralson apples

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Haralson is a popular apple in the upper Midwest, for good reason as it has proven to be happily hardy. It is also stores well which made it perfect for my orchard. Productive and reliable the tree has a wonderful shape, just like the drawings that publications make of what a fruit tree should look like, which none of my other trees do. On the tart side the fruit also has a lot of flavor and sweetens up in storage when it is good for fresh eating. Makes great apple crisp, too!

2022 - Pruned off top tier, ~10", lowering tree to ladder height (~12 ft). Minor other pruning; looks good. Moderate bloom, in scattered zones - south high full, low none - other patches here and there. Had some blossom/tip blight (as many other trees did) - kept pulled off. Noticed a "rough" dark spot on bark. Don't know cause but kept sprayed with ferm. comfrey/spinach (as did all trees with any issues). Looks healthy otherwise. Did some thinning of fruit.

First ripe apple dropped Sept. 29, beautiful, large, brown seeds, tart but some sweet. Had two late 20's frosts. Decided to pick. Very zonal fruit set. Overall a beautiful crop, most med & large, only a few scab or cork, some bird pecked (~ peck). Picked 2 hb, 37#, good fruit. Pretty good for a "light" year. Store for sauce and fresh eating. End Dec. sorted ~ 1/3 soft or damaged made sauce. Some sign of bitter pit rot. Eat rest fresh. Some wrinkled in Jan. but still good eating. As before they sweetened in storage, very good in December.

2021 - Year Off

The Haralson picked a good year for an off year, with another end of May freeze with the apples in full bloom which meant very little fruit. The tree continues healthy, needing just general light pruning. Plus I took the top tier off to get it down to my new ladder height (about 12 ft).

2020 - Big Harvest

Light pruning, thinned out thicker east side. Bloomed vigorously and set vigorously. I thinned the end of June - turns out I should have thinned more. Tree to tall for new ladder - need to bring down next year pruning. End Aug dropping underripe, full size apples, some bug damaged. 9/12 dropping ripe apples, picking up for sauce. Tree is over-loaded w/ fruit I think. 9/17 freeze forecast (was 24 deg at camera, 28 w/in tree) so harvested bottom half of tree. Mostly medium size, look OK -- 3 1/2 hb!  9/25 birds (or one bluejay!) eating, mostly the very good large ones, so picked top half of tree. Look good. Total harvest 132#!  ~3 1/2 bushels.

Later in storage discovered most have tracks (apple maggot?) and some more damage but no worms. Not sweetening up much this year but OK. Root cellar warm early maybe due to record hot summer, apples notHaralson apple last fresh one March 15 keeping as well but OK. Sorting through and making sauce as needed from wrinkliest ones through Dec. Kept rest to eat fresh.

March 15 (2021) - We celebrated a "busy" five days* by enjoying the final  apple of the season, fresh from the homestead (root cellar), a Haralson, in pretty good shape, especially considering its age, and very good eating. Won't be another until fall. Store apples just can't compare.

* 13-new moon; 14-time change; 15-ides of March; 16-our real Equinox and St. Urho's Day; 17-St Patrick's Day. Whew. Then a couple days off til Saturday, 20th-official Equinox day.

2019 - Nice Fruit!

Haralson appleThis was an 'off' year for Haralson for fruit, a variety known for biennial bearing, but it did us well anyway. No bird issues this year so the fruit got to ripen on the tree. What a difference! The first apple dropped October 8, a very nice juicy and tasty specimen. I decided to pick the rest that day. I didn't want them overly ripe for storage, and Haralson has proved to be a good storage apple. The fruit was exceptionally nice. Most were medium to medium large size, very little corking* or any other issues. Though not a large harvest it was welcome and appreciated. I stored 14 pounds of nice apples in their wooden box in the root cellar for later eating. November 1 we ate the first stored Haralson. Delicious! For Thanksgiving and Christmas I made apple crisp, also delicious thanks to the Haralsons. We'll be eeking out the last of the apples but there won't be enough to last until April this year. Maybe next!

* In the spring I spread generous amount of wood ashes around the tree to hopefully mitigate corking on the fruit. Can't say for sure if it was the whole reason, I suspect weather may have had a big hand in it, too, but it sure was nice to have such a minor amount of the fruit affected this year. 

2018 - Bumper Crop!

After two years of no fruit the tree decided to go all out - 65# worth! (photo at top) This time I thinned, going over the tree a number of times when the fruit was small, pulling off any damaged ones and putting some space between the ones that were left. The tree was healthy and in good shape and it all paid off. 37# of large/medium sized good and reasonably good apples for storage, 11# with slight damage (mostly corking), and 17# smalls/damaged/bird-eaten but they made just fine sauce. The early drops started the end of August (mostly inferior fruit). September 19 the jays had baskets of Haralson applesdiscovered the fruit, but it appeared ripe and ready to be picked so I did. What a treat to get multiple full baskets of apples.

I made sauce as the fall went on, using the worst fruit first, and we ate some fresh, though they are on the tart side then. But when the other apples were gone and these were what we had left, they tasted just fine! Unfortunately, our root cellar doesn't cool down until into November so it's not the best storage early on. The end of December there were just a dozen of the best apples left. Some were getting a little rubbery but not bad, others still nicely firm. The flavor became less acid, sweeter and more pleasant and more flavor for fresh eating (this is common for storage type apples). This is definitely a keeper tree!Haralson apple March 31 There were only 6 apples left at the New Year. They were still in good shape but I wanted to see how long they would last. Our fresh apple eating dropped to one or two a month - January, February, March... Each time I would choose the 'worst', which wasn't at all bad but slightly less firm feeling, maybe a little wrinkly in the skin than the others. Every time the apple was still good texture inside with flavor getting a little less tart and a little more sweet.

January apple - slightly rubbery, slightly wrinkled (worst of the 6 saved apples). Even better flavor than December's, good texture. February's - same as January (oh how I wished I'd saved more!). March - same report - 2 left, still firm.

Then came the best of the best, the final apple, the first of April. Delicious! Very good. Juicy, clean, not hard crisp but pleasant, slightly more tender than March's apple, nice apple-y flavor, sweeter, less tart, no wrinkles. This is indeed a good storage apple. Possible the end of good storage. Stored in a wooden box in the root cellar at about 40 degrees all winter. I now understand the enthusiasm people have shown for good storage apples. I can't wait for a larger harvest so we can see just how long this apple will last in moderate storage conditions.

Haralson tree March

2015 - First Harvest! 

The apples weren't the highest quality, quite a bit of corking and cracking and on the small side, but we got 17# of apples from this first harvest and were happy to have them. This tree apparently needs the fruit to be thinned (next time!). I did some pruning and thinning of branches which should help in future years. It has reached the height I want, 12'-14' so I'll keep it there. It has a real nice shape - the only apple tree in the orchard that has that 'text book' christmas tree shape. The fruit is on the tart side - it's a 'cooking' type apple and makes reasonably good sauce (with sweetening). Because of the condition of the fruit I didn't store any but they are supposed to be very good storage apples. Something to look forward to in the future.

2014 - No blossoms, looking good.

2013 - No blossoms, good shaped central leader tree.

2012 - 5/30 freeze killed all fruit blossoms.

2011 - One apple! Did OK, some leaf curling (dry year?). Apple dropped 9/28. Nice large size, rather tart but good flavor, good texture.

2010 - From Fedco. Planted 4/7. Good strong large sapling. Several blossoms! (removed). Some leaf curl but did OK.

Copyright Susan Robishaw

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