Specialty Crop Optimizing Orchard Strategies for Yield, Plant Health, and Fruit Quality in Organic Apple Production.

Grants and Contracts Details


There is a growing market for organically-grown apples. However, the specific challenges for organic apple production in Kentucky and the mid-South have not been clearly established, and solutions to any problems have yet to be studied so that appropriate recommendations can be developed. A high-density, certified organic apple orchard was established in 2007 on the University ofKentucky Horticultural Research Farm in Lexington, KY, using apple scab resistant cultivars on dwarfing rootstocks grown as slender spindle trees. The project has already identified some specific challenges for organic apple growers in this region. Critical among these challenges are use of appropriate groundcovers to reduce/eliminate the need for under-tree CUltivation, effectiveness of materials for bloom thinning versus fruit thinning to adjust crop load, and control of cedar apple rust and sooty blotch/flyspeck diseases and the insects codling moth and plum curculio. This project will assess the effectiveness of organically-certified techniques and materials on these problems, techniques which have never been assessed under Kentucky growing conditions, and on the postharvest cold storage life ofthe fruit over a 3 year period.
Effective start/end date11/1/109/15/13


  • KY Department of Agriculture: $73,590.00


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