Certain diseases like Apple Scab can sometimes survive the heat of the compost pile. This also hold true for the larvae of apple maggots (not to be confused with codling moths). If you suspect that any of your fruits are diseased, dispose of them another way. However, as long as the apples from your trees are free from disease, there is no reason not to compost those that fall on the ground and start rotting before you get to them. Whole apples will break down eventually, but you will get much faster results if you cut them up into smaller pieces. Bruising apples will also invite composting bacteria to them more quickly. Make sure to mix in plenty of "browns" with these "greens" to ensure a proper nitrogen/carbon balance in the heap.
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I'm not sure what a "mulch pile" is but my guess is that apples could easily be mixed with leaves, grass cuttings, etc. and be used for mulching. Otherwise, I would put them into the compost pile, add manure and let it "ripen" until spring--along with all the other organic matter I have added over the summer.
They are great. If I don't get around to eating my apples in time, I cut them right up into my garden. I do not use any commercial products and my plants and flowers are perfect and the apples are kept out of the landfills!
Please make an effort to pick them up and deliver them to an organisationn such as a food bank or church who can distribute them to the needy. You will feel good and they will feel great for being the recipient of your kindness.
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