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
Stroll along any countryside lane in the autumn and you will discover the hedgerows are full of wild apple trees – the progeny of discarded apple cores or an apple pip dispersed by an animal or bird. Known as wildings, they can also be evidence of a ‘lost’ orchard where a lone apple tree has survived and been incorporated into the hedgerow. Variable in size, texture and colour these accidental apple trees are often mistaken for crab apples, the original wild form of the tree. Continue reading
The Bramley crops well, but the other apple tree never produces a thing. This is not an uncommon complaint. It’s usually the tree that has failed to fruit that is identified as the ‘problem’. In fact, the ‘culprit’ will almost certainly be the Bramley. Bramley’s Seedling is triploid. The trouble with triploids is they have no viable pollen and cannot be used to pollinate other apple trees. 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