Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apricot Blossoms

The apricot trees are in blossom - and it's only April 11 !!
That's a full 2 weeks sooner than they bloomed in 2009 and 2008.

   The reason this matters is because of the danger of frost. At this stage - just before the blossoms open and during the bloom period - temperatures below freezing can damage the crop. The blossoms could be frozen and killed meaning no fruit, or just damaged and the apricots turn out misshapen & deformed. The forecast low is 2 C tonight and 3 degrees tomorrow night so we should be okay. We also need some sunny and warm days so the bees will pollinate the blossoms. A few hours of really good weather is sufficient for the bees to do their job.
   Apricots are always an iffy fruit anyways. We had 2 rows - about 75 trees - which were planted in the late 1990's. I finally removed them the other fall. Over the 10+ years they grew, we never made any money on them. The trees themselves are susceptible to lots of diseases and every spring I had to replace about 10% of them. The fruit seems to attract numerous insects & diseases which make it unsellable. And of course they blossom earlier in the spring than all the other fruits and regularly get hit by frost.
   On the plus side, apricot trees are one of the most beautiful fruit trees. The leaves are a beautiful shape and start out bright red in colour, turning green as they age. This gives the tree a georgeous appearance (someone remind me to post a picture in June). And of course the fruit is incredibly delicious - one of my favourites!
   So when I cut down my small apricot orchard I left 2 trees - just enough to remind me why I don't want to grow apricots, but also enough to enjoy a good feed.
   In our backyard we have another 2 trees. They must be at least 35-40 years old now
and are not too healthy. We mostly keep them for sentimental reasons, though they have quite good fruit. The variety is unknown or we might be tempted to plant some more of these kind.
   Here's a couple of shots of them I took about an hour ago - the sun was very bright and low in the evening sky so the pictures are not great.

Here's hoping for a good crop!!

1 comment: