We’re back to a chilly rain again and I’m hoping it won’t last so long that the blooming flowers are beaten down. One of the highlights of my spring is watching my ‘Blueberry Muffin’ tulips unfurl. Tulips don’t last very long, in my garden. I blame it on the voles. I have to plant new ones every year, to insure a good display each spring.
But the flowers I’m most concerned about are my fruit trees. My apples were just starting to bloom, but my little cherry is positively covered in blossoms, so I’m crossing my fingers for a good yield. Usually the birds beat me to it and I’m out there in the rain (again) trying to cover it with netting. Actually, this tree is my husbands. He was given it as a gift for directing “The Cherry Orchard”. Wasn’t it the perfect gift?
My peach tree never disappoints. When I was much younger, I grew a peach tree from a pit and it produced the best peaches for years and years. I’m hoping for a long partnership with this tree, although I still have a tough time thinning the overly abundant fruits.
So I always cross my fingers when it rains heavily while the fruit trees are in bloom. Without a few dry days for the bees to work their wonders, the flowers may not get cross pollinated and I won’t get any fruits.
There are so many other problems you have to worry about with fruit trees. To start, they don’t do much of anything until they reach bearing age. Peaches and apricots are some of the earliest bearers, starting at 3-5 years old. Dwarf varieties of fruit trees could start producing even earlier, many within the 2nd or 3rd growing season after transplanting. Standard size apples and pears.take a little longer, from 3-5 years.
So if you’ve given your trees a spot with full sun and healthy, well-draining soil, watched for late frosts and given the trees time to become established, there’s still pruning. I think every gardener dreads pruning. I guess we’re afraid we’ll kill the tree. I like to think of it as tough love. You have to get rid of the older wood, open the branches to sunlight and air and make sure there is no dead or diseased wood.
So you wouldn’t think too much fruit set would be daunting, but a large fruit set strains the trees resources. You have to choose between a large harvest of small fruits or a smaller harvest of prime fruits. There’s even a condition called ‘June Drop’ which refers to fruit trees self-thinning. For now I’ll keep my fingers crossed and worry about the rest when those precious little fruits start to form.