Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Fruitset May 2012

Fruit set

This season the long, wet and cold period we all experienced before the current hot spell, has had a major influence on this year’s crop prospects. Some trees have set reasonably well while other trees only show a light crop. Apart from the weather, it has shown again that trees which had a grass and weed free area, of one square metre around the trunks of the trees, have been able to set a much better crop on most varieties of fruit. Just think back to the sequence of events, weatherwise, to date: many of us experienced the driest winter on record. Then it started to rain and it didn’t want to stop. The wind stayed in the North and it was very cold at the same time. As a result during the blossoming of the trees, there was very little insect activity in the orchard. The bumble bees were the only ones around. Pollination was largely achieved by wind-blown pollen. It is this sort of situation where orchard design, variety choice and micro climate will have a major impact on crop prospects.

Summarising, pollination, variety choice and soil management and to a lesser extent the choice of rootstock, can still achieve a good crop of fruit, in spite of very unfavourable weather conditions during the blossom period. Therefore it pays to get the best advice applicable to your particular orchard site. Blossom periods are never alike. Some years the early varieties do best, other years the late flowering varieties excel. Therefore the best assurance of regular cropping of the orchard as a whole can be achieved by planting different types of fruit, as well as different and compatible varieties.

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