Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's Apple-ing Now Sir, But Why?

For the second year running I have experienced the querky phenomenon of autumn apple blossom and fruit.While this is far less of a problem than coddling moth or the icy massacre of a hail storm, autumn bud break (as I call it) has the potential to reduce the following year's yield not to mention confuse the bees. If I wanted to be irritating, I would name it "bi-anneal bearing" which is both a per-existing apple tree condition and a confusing measurement of time if you think hard enough about it. The activity occurs at the tips of the new growth with clusters of flowers followed by bunches of abnormal, elongated, Chernobyl-style fruit. The fruit never gets past acorn size and hangs on the tree until you pull them off and hock them at something. Why does it happen? No definitive answer so far with the internet being, as always, useless. As everyone knows, true gardening wisdom is only contained in mouldy old books that nobody owns. My strongest suspicion is climate, to be specific an unusually long 'Indian Summer' we had this year. Perhaps as Summer rolls on and on the trees decide to skip winter and get on with spring. The other suspects are rainfall and fertilizer. The last few years have produced excessive autumn rainfall and I may well have provided excess late Summer feeding. The only one of these factors that I can influence is fertilizing so next year there will be a test. I will feed some of the apples in late Summer and skip others and then we'll see. At the moment it's nothing more than a botanical oddity as the growth that blooms prematurely is almost always pruned back. However when the trees are properly established it may occur on the delicately nurtured fruiting spurs wasting the following years potential crop. I will continue searching for answers.

Deformed Corryong Pippins

Autumn Summer Strawberry's