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Do you grow Pink Lady apples? Ever wondered why sometimes they’re a gorgeous dark pink colour (like the ones above)…
… and sometimes they’re pale?
These two examples (above and below) are both from the same trees, in different years. So, what’s the difference (and no, it’s not a filter)?
What influences fruit colour?
There are a few factors that determine the final colour of your apples. The main one is the weather, but maybe not in the way that you think.
Usually, fruit needs to get a certain amount of sunlight to achieve its ripe colour. However, in the case of these apples, hot weather can actually bleach the colour out of the apples.
In fact, the best conditions to create vibrant colour are cool nights and mornings. This encourages the apples to turn a lovely dark pink.
But they also need sunlight! If you have a dense leaf cover on your trees, the apples that grow in the shade under the leaves are also likely to be pale.
A certain amount of regular sunlight needs to hit the apples during the day for the colour to develop.
This is one of the reasons you might choose to do a bit of summer pruning on your apple trees.
Can pruning help apples turn pink?
Summer pruning will reduce the density of the canopy and allow sunlight to penetrate the whole tree. So yes, it’s a technique that can help with getting fruit to colour up.
Having said that, it’s not commonly used by home fruit-growers. This is mainly a strategy used on commercial orchards to get better colour in apples. They’re under pressure to provide uniform looking “perfect” apples to supermarkets.
Most home-growers don’t care so much how their apples look as long as they taste great, and so are less likely to prune for cosmetic reasons alone.
What else affects fruit colour?
The last thing that may affect the colour of your fruit is the cultivar (or specific variety). There are a few different variations of Pink Lady, and each has a different colour profile.
For example, Rosy Glow is a much darker pink colour compared to the more traditional Cripps Pink (the apple most commonly known as Pink Lady), for example, but they are still sold as ‘Pink Lady’.
Getting your apples to look beautiful is a pretty minor problem. It pales into insignificance (boom boom) compared to the many apple-specific problems, pests, and diseases that cause home-growers a lot of grief.
But we love them anyway, and (probably) so do you!
Apple trees are one of the most common fruit trees found in backyards, for lots of good reasons. There’s nothing quite like an apple tree outside the back door.
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Great artical Katie & Hugh. I don’t understand why we keep promoting a trademark name for what essentially are 5 or 6 varieties of apples, if you want an origional ‘pink lady’ then you need a “Cripps Pink”. something like 80% of pink lady apples from Tassie are “Rosy Glow”. Bernie.
I have bought a (not the laterest one super) the first one out in a pinkabelle apple genuine dwaft tree to partner with a dwaft Granny Smith apple tree I hoping the pinkabelle is the same as pink lady I am new in this field or do I need to go out and buy a gala apple to fix my mistake up
Both fruit tree are very young I hoping for a good crop in couple of years when then get older
Can you please also tell me what spay to buy if I can moths ect so I can look after then
Hi Bernie, Pinkabelles and Granny Smiths should be okay to pollinate in terms of flowering time – ‘Pinkabelles’ are a dwarfing Cripps Pink, which is a kind of Pink Lady. While they are young, take a look at our guide for establishment pruning to help make sure you have a good structure for fruiting in years to come! And as for coddling moth, here’s a link to a blog with some ideas to get you started. Happy gardening! Meg, Grow Great Fruit team.