Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mixed apples, mixed fortunes

The apple harvest has apparently been good everywhere in the UK this year … everywhere, that is, except in our orchard.

Our fortunes were mixed with a couple of successes but a couple of total failures too.

Apple failures

One of our regular trees, a Cox’s Orange Pippin, suffered badly from the cold south-easterly winds that whipped up the Rhymney Valley last spring and froze and desiccated even some hardy plants.

It recovered but a lot of the new growth from last year perished and died. The rest of the tree suffered too. While everything was delayed by the unusually cold spring, this tree was much later coming into bud than the other apple trees.

When it did, those branches that had leaves had fewer than usual and those that had perished were just brittle sticks.

And there was very little blossom on it. I think by late June there were about four or five formative apples and all of these were lost before they could be harvested from what is usually a productive tree

Another apple tree suffered similarly with last year’s growth dying back and no fruit at all. But this tree – an Elliston’s Gold variety, has struggled to blossom at all since it was planted to replace a different variety that was removed five years ago because it was suffering from a canker.

I’m not sure what the problem is but there’s been very little blossom each year and the tree also suffers from a fungal infection each summer. I’ll watch it closely over the next 12 months and may have to resort to radical action.

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