The apple trees are coming into blossom. For orchard owners it can be a nerve-wracking time. Apple trees only produce fruit if they have been properly pollinated. Good weather is an important factor. Late frosts and high winds can damage the blossom. Most fruit trees are pollinated by insects, in particular bees and hoverflies. Bees tend not to venture out if it’s too cold, too windy or too wet.
But don’t despair, although poor weather can be a problem, it only requires two or three warm days while the tree is in blossom for the insects to start foraging and for pollination to take place. Continue reading
It can be rather alarming to discover that the tiny apples that you have been watching form and swell over the past few weeks are dropping from the tree for no apparent reason. Fear not, it is a natural process that has even been given a name; June Drop [although it often continues well into July]. It is reckoned that only 5 per cent of the blossoms on a tree need to set and go on to produce an apple for it to constitute a full crop. Continue reading
There is a seasonal rhythm to the orchards. As the cherry and plum blossom begin to fade, the first vivid green leaves on the apple trees start to unfurl. Nestled in the middle are the nascent flower buds that with warm, sunny days will swell. Cherry and plum set the tempo for the annual blossom show, but it is the apple orchards that provide the grand finale. Continue reading
The plum trees are in blossom. The delicate white flowers emerge before the leaves, but their appearance is fleeting. Ten days and they are gone. For the keen wild forager, now is the time to scour the local hedgerows and woodlands for the plum’s early flowering cousins, the damson, bullace and sloe. Their white blossom is equally ephemeral but at this time of year these wild and semi-wild plums are easy to spot in the hedgerows. Make a mental note of their location and return in the late summer to harvest the delicious fruit. Continue reading