March 2013

is probably the most asked question we get.  One of the major reasons is due to our erratic spring freezes.  Depending on where the fruit bud is in its stage of development it can withstand as low as 10 degrees or may freeze at 29f.  Knowing the development stage and the allowable temperature will tell you what actions to take to try to prevent or minimize a crop loss.  The problem in the past has been knowing what the verbally described stage of development is.

apple blossom developmentThe other day I ran across this webpage that is  simple and spells (shows pictures) it out for us for each tree fruit.  It shows the temperature that will give a 10% loss at the particular stage of developments as well as the temperature that will induce a 90% or greater loss.

Take a few minutes to look at this simple webpage and then keep it bookmarked for future reference.




           poor pollination may be the reason!!            Each seed that does not get pollinated limits the development of the apple in size, shape and sugar content. Oftentimes the difference between fancy fruit apples which bring top dollar, and the cheap bag apples is three or four seeds.

The apple cut in half correctly on right side, clearly shows the 5 pockets

The apple cut in half correctly on right side, clearly shows the 5 pockets

 Seed counts are an important management tool for apple growers to evaluate success of pollination. Some apple varieties are difficult to pollinate. Red Delicious is famous for being hard to pollinate, but seed counts on Empire suggest that this apple’s sizing problems may well be due to need for more effective pollination, like it’s Delicious parent. Each block and variety should be evaluated by seed counts made at harvest time, with records kept and compared to placement, quantity of hives, hive strength, etc, to aid in decisions for the following season’s pollination management.

   It suprises me how many growers do not know this simple and basic tool for pollination evaluation. We may also perpetuate false ideas by referring to apples as being “set,” when we really should talk about seeds being set. -As if one bee could visit a blossom and “set” a quality apple! It requires careful attention to both pollinizers and pollinators, with multiple visits by the bee in each blossom, to make the apples that make the money.