Why Do Apples Rot on the Tree and How Can You Save Them?

by Kristiyana

Why do apples rot on the tree? What should I do with rotten apples? Can they be composted? How can I make sure that next year’s harvest will be healthier?

Why Do Apples Rot on the Tree?

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There are three possible reasons why fruit rots on apple trees. You need to inspect them carefully and take steps to ensure that next year’s harvest is healthy and free from disease and pests. If you take immediate action, you may even be able to save some fruit this year.


Under-watering is a very possible reason why apples rot on trees. Yes, it’s not over-watering. In this case, the main cause is the summer heatwave, which causes stress in the plants. As a result, the leaves turn yellow and fall earlier than usual. The fruit also ripens prematurely and even rots. Of course, if this happens, all you have to do is immediately increase the amount of watering.


Pests are another very common reason that can spoil your harvest. When it comes to fruit rot, look out for apple maggots and codling moths. Other insects rarely cause rot. To get rid of them, you’ll need an insecticide. We recommend using those based on natural ingredients rather than chemical solutions. And don’t forget to treat fruit trees in the evening to avoid harming pollinators.


Unfortunately, this is the most likely reason, as it is very difficult to get rid of. In most cases, apple rot on trees is caused by two fungal diseases called Candida or Moniliosis. These diseases are very dangerous, because the spores can spread very quickly and damage shoots and fruit, as well as leaves. So what should you do?

  • Remove the rotten apples as soon as you see them.
  • Infection can spread quickly between touching fruits in a cluster. It is therefore necessary to thin the fruits if necessary by removing the smallest ones.
  • Don’t forget to lime fruit trees in fall and spring to kill fungus spores that overwinter in the bark.
  • The use of antifungal products is also necessary. Experts advise focusing on an organic treatment based on Bordeaux mixture.

What to Do with Rotten Apples?

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Even rotten apples can still be composted. But there is one condition: they must first be cut into small pieces. Make sure they are as small as possible. Another way of disposing of rotten apples is to bury them at least 30 cm/ 0.98 feet below the surface of the soil. This is an excellent source of nitrogen and other important nutrients that will enrich the soil for the following year.

Of course, you mustn’t leave them on the tree or on the ground. This is because the spores can migrate to the rest of the fruit and plants. Don’t forget that a light wind can blow them away, as they are microscopic.

How to store apples without losses? What varieties are long-lasting? Find out for yourself!

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