Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery

Certified Organic Hard Ciders and Apples

Spring orcharding

We had a beautiful weekend to be out in the orchard. We pruned trees, shaped young trees, and grafted new varieties of apples on some of the trees in the orchard. A Red Delicious will now grow as multiple local varieties (6 on one tree!), the last Prima has become a golden russet, and MacIntoshes will now be Jonathan and Harrison. The trees are looking good, and as soon as the ground dries up we can push the tree trimmings out of the orchard and spread some compost so we will be ready for the growing season. We now have two labradoodles, Watermelon and Strawberry, who keep us company while we are doing orchard work.

The vole pressure appears to have been extremely high this winter, as they girdled trees in the woods and yard as well as in the orchard. Voles eat the young bark off of trees under the snow, effectively cutting off the plant’s circulatory system. We lost a handful of young apple trees, but given the damage to blackberries, maples, and lilacs on the surrounding property, we are relieved the cages we put around the young trunks did their job so the vast majority of young trees are undamaged. A few mature apple trees had trunk damage, including one tree that was completely girdled. Interestingly, it was only the unhealthy mature trees that were eaten by voles. We ended up having to cut down a few trees that have been struggling for years now, as they succumbed to vole damage, disease, and general ill health.

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