Orchards Report: The Apple Tree Bloom is Near
It’s the million-dollar question that comes around every spring in the apple orchard: “When will the apple trees be in bloom?”
A few people in the orchards industry call this event “prom for apple trees” because every branch is all dressed up with flowers, creating quite a spectacle.
My best estimate for seeing pink and white blooms on trees at Arbor Day Farm this year is right around April 17-21, 2010.
As you might imagine, there are plenty of variables that determine when the trees will be at their most beautiful. The long, cold, wet Nebraska winter prevented an early bloom this year. But the handful of 70- to 80-degree days we had in late March and so far in April have helped bring things up to speed in the orchard.
If we continue to have warm and sunny days, plan to find the blooms at their best early in the April 17-21 timeframe. Cool and rainy days will result in blooms later in that window of time. Even within the same orchard, it’s not uncommon to see one area or zone of trees maturing just a day or two faster than other areas.
Another question that I get asked a lot in the orchard this time of year: “Does every bloom result in an apple?”
No, it does not.
The bloom is just the big show. The “real work” is left to the bees, who’s job it is to pollinate, pollinate, and pollinate some more. Without the bees’ handiwork this season, we wouldn’t get to enjoy yellow delicious and jonathan apples in the fall.
So no matter where it falls on the calendar, the apple tree bloom really is something you’ll want to slow down and take notice of. Keep your camera handy and feel free to post your best blossom photos on the Arbor Day Farm Facebook page for all of us to enjoy.
See you soon in Nebraska City!
Erik Olson is the Orchards Manager at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Have more questions about apple trees? Email Erik here.