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Can apples tolerate a freeze?

Cortland apples
Photo: Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Extension
A "hard freeze" is defined as four straight hours of 28°F. Apples freeze at around 28°F, so what if you can't get out before a forecasted hard freeze to pick your apples? Will they be OK after a night of freezing? The good news according to U of M fruit researchers is your apples should be okay if the temperature doesn't get much below 28.

More importantly, frozen apples should not be picked until the fruit thaws out as the frozen fruit will bruise and be unusable. Late fruiting apples like U of M's SnowSweet are more at risk to freezing. 

After a freeze, leave the apples on the tree wait till midday when they have thawed out. At 22°F, the fruit will freeze hard and cells will break down. So if a very cold night is ahead and your apples are still on the tree, it's best to change your plans and get picking!

Author: Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator - Horticulture
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