Apricots are the first fruit trees to blossom.
This year they were in full bloom by the end of March - approx. 1 month ahead of the average. There was even snow on the ground during bloom!
Because apricots bloom so early they often get hit by a frost which reduces the crop.
2. Identify the following blossoms...
...from top to bottom - apricots, peaches, peaches and plums
3. Are the blossoms harmed by the frosty nights we've been having?
The cold night temperatures that we have had lately can definitely harm the blossoms.
Blossoms just about to open, and open blooms are the most susceptible to damage. At a temperature of -2.2 C buds can be killed on many fruits. Once the lows reach -3.9 there can be significant bud kill. Sweet cherries are the most sensitive to cold.
Of course it is not as staightforward as a certain temperature. Other factors that work along with temperature include the duration of the cold temperatures, how warm the days have been, soil moisture levels, ground cover (grass, bare soil, mulch ...) etc.
Right now we are not seeing significant damage to our blossoms. For this we are thankful! However it is early in the season and cold temperatures can still be expected.
Peaches, nectarines and red & yellow plums are all in blossom now, and thus the most vulnerable.
-some weeds are also in flower and look pretty good with the booming peaches!
Sweet cherries are just beginning to open.
Pears (above) and blue plums (below) are probably about a week away. The white blooms here are wild plums that we allow to grow to help pollinate our trees.
4. How many blossoms need to set or become fruit to have a decent crop?
With peaches - even if 10% of the blossoms set and become fruit, that can still be a full crop.
5. What else is happening on the farm right now?
-pruning sweet cherries
-peas are coming up (this picture was taken on a frosty morning recently)
-daffodils are blooming
-seedlings are growing in the greenhouse
-raspberries are pruned, tucked into the wires and starting to show green