Apples: News, 2017


What an unusual year - apple blossom is three weeks earlier for us than in 2016, which doesn't tie in very well with the prediction made last month based on Prunus. First apple blossoms to show were on 4 Apr, with 10% of the flowers open two days later and 90% blossom on 9 Apr. The varieties were Webster Pinkmeat and George's Red; the first is an American redfleshed apple and the second a redfleshed apple from Essex.

About twenty other varieties have now joined them, and hand-pollination is in full swing, with pollen from last year being used on the very early flowers.

I often get asked if early flowering apples form early-ripening fruit. The answer is - not usually. A few early floweringtypes ripen very early (eg Sweetings) and one or two flower late and ripen late (eg Crawley Beauty) but overall there is not much of a link between flowering date and ripening date. The speed of growing and ripening (ie the chemical reactions inside the developing fruit) is unique to each variety.

12 Apr 17

It seems likely that apple blossom this year will be later than last year. My flowering plum, which I use as a 'marker' for blossom dates, was in full (90%) bloom this year on 4 Mar, compared with 20 Feb last year, ie. 2-3 weeks later. The apricot plum was 8 Mar, compared with 8 Mar in 2016; however last year it was spread over six weeks, a bit at a time, so the date was difficult to pin down.

First apple blossom last year in this part of South Leicestershire was Pink Pearl (18 Apr) followed by Webster Pinkmeat and Scarlet Surprise (20 Apr).

According to the plum dates I guess we may have some apple blossom around 25-30 Apr with Bramley at around 10-12 May, but much depends on what happens to the weather over the next fortnight.

10 Mar 17

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