a visit to the orchard
May/13/2012 08:02 AM Filed in: orchard
This morning when I went outside to take care of the animals, it was so warm and beautiful I had to continue up the hill into the orchard. The petals have begun to fall, but there are still a lot of blossoms on the trees, so the orchard is an absurdly pleasant place to be. Birds are everywhere, the Baltimore oriole, kingbird, catbird, and song sparrow the most obvious. No doubt lots of nests are being built right now. We will begin spraying clay on the trees to irritate the plum curculio weevil soon, but right at this moment we don’t have work to do in the orchard so we can just enjoy its beauty.
The infection period for the fungal disease scab is pretty much over. Due to the long period of dry this spring, most of the spores were released in only a few rainy periods, so we were able to spray sulfur on our scab-susceptible trees at those times. If the degree-day models are correct, we should have killed around 90% of the spores this season. We have low scab pressure anyway, thanks to good management in past years, so it will be interesting to see what the scab-susceptible apples, like Cortland and MacIntosh, look like this year.
Some of the young trees we planted are flowering for the first time this year, including Honeycrisp, golden russet, Williams pride, frostbite, baldwin, Cox orange pippin. We won’t get more than a few fruit off each tree, but are excited to find out how these varieties taste when grown here.