We have two second year apricot trees, (I've forgotten the variety) which bore well last year and have lots of green fruit this year. However, the birds took a good portion of the crop last year. I don't object to "A share for us, a share for Mother Nature", but this year we want a larger share. I'd like to avoid draping the trees with mesh.
If I pick the fruits after they start to show good color but before they're fully ripe, will they contimue to ripen?
The Apricots i have bought in the market that were picked early seem to turn into mush more than the tree ripened ones i had in the past. I spread the bird net over mine, using a frame made from PVC pipe to put it on and hold it up.
I would do as Ernie suggested. After all the idea behind planting our own fruit trees is to harvest at peak maturity so as to enjoy the sweetest fruit around. I can sympathize with you though. I have a bad squirrel problem, but can't bring myself to do as neighbors suggest. So I have to protect the fruit or be content with the few they let me have.
I found this in the Mother Earth News:
Quoting:Two Types of Fruit
Most people think that all fruits continue to sweeten for a time after harvest. Not so. Fruits can be divided into two classes: climacteric and nonclimacteric. When picked at the green-ripe stage, the climacteric fruits—peaches, apples, avocados, bananas, mangoes, papayas, plums, persimmons, tomatoes, pears, kiwis, apricots and many of the "new" tropicals — contain large nutrient stores which change to sugars as the flesh ripens. (If harvested too soon, however, they'll fail to improve at all, and will simply shrink, soften and eventually spoil.)
On the other hand, nonclimacteric fruits — cherries, citrus, figs, grapes, melons, pineapples, pomegranates, strawberries — do not have reserves of starches or oils, and thus will never get sweeter after they're picked.
When selecting climacteric types, remember that red, yellow or orange fruits are not always ripe and that green fruits are not always immature. You can trust yellow bananas or pears and bright red tomatoes — but color is of little help with apples, and of no use in determining which peaches or nectarines are best.
In fact, many of the new peach and nectarine varieties have been selected to redden while they're still unripe. Unless their flesh gives slightly to the touch, and background color is appropriate to the type (yellow or white, not pale green), peaches and nectarines will never ripen. If you pick out relatively mature peaches or nectarines, however, they will continue to sweeten at room temperature (70° to 80°F).
Apricots are more perishable. Select only those that are richly colored, and chill them immediately for use within one or two days. Most varieties continue to ripen to some degree, even in the cold.
The birds are testing the fruit for ripeness and picking it as early as possible, too. You can't get good fruit by picking earlier than the birds. And yes - it drives you crazy. It could be worse - raccoons and bears break branches and damage the tree.