Here you are again at the beginning of spring, with your fruit trees. Wait for it…an ever-repeating miracle is about to unfold before your very eyes!
It’s hard not to be excited at this time of year.
As a fruit grower, it’s also hard not to be a little nervous. For your fruit trees, it can be a make-or-break time.
The idea of growing your own fruit can be quite hard. There are so many things that could (and frequently do) go wrong. There’s a lot to learn, and it can feel like a big job, even overwhelming at times.
Spring provides the perfect antidote.
From dormancy to life…
The experience of watching your trees go from looking almost dead in the middle of winter to being covered with flowers can quickly turn nervousness into joy. Being witness to the incredible process of the flowers becoming fruit is an intense pleasure.
Of course, there are risks. There can be many low points when things go wrong and you feel responsible.
But every year we feel like it’s an absolute privilege to look after our fruit trees as they do their thing.
Spring is such an active and changing time of year. The trees can literally look different from day to day, and almost hour from to hour, especially when they’re flowering.
Spring is the ‘engine room’ of the whole season. It’s when you need to be on high alert monitoring the weather and the trees, so you can be as responsive as possible.
For example, getting organic fungicides on your trees at the right times is crucial, especially in wet weather. This alone can make a huge difference to the outcome of the season. Like whether your trees get Leaf curl, for example.
Learning to monitor your fruit trees is a key skill at this time of year.
What to look for in your fruit trees in early spring
The first signs of spring in your fruit trees that you’re likely to notice depend on your varieties. At our place, the early peach varieties are some of the first to flower. At the same time, lots of the other peach and nectarine varieties are rapidly approaching budswell.
The first of the blood plums are flowering (the first few flowers are just appearing), some almond varieties are in full flower, and the first apricots are blooming.
We know, it’s just nature and it happens every year, but we never get sick of watching our fruit trees in spring.
It’s such a miracle to see little dry-looking buds gradually open each day and beautiful flowers emerge.
Insects are waking up too
The next thing to watch for is bees and other insects. On a nice sunny day, you should be able to see them buzzing furiously around the flowers, doing the magical job of pollinising the tiny ovary inside each flower.
Another few weeks and the petals will begin to fall. Miraculously, they leave miniature fruit in their wake. Growing fruit never gets old!
Confusingly, you may find that you’re still finishing some of your deep winter jobs. You may still have trees to plant, for example. In early spring at our place, we’re usually cutting last year’s grafts back to the bud.
We’re inevitably also still finishing the winter pruning, though we always try to do this while the trees are still dormant. That’s the best way to get a nice strong growth response from the trees (plus it’s much easier to see what you’re doing).
So early spring is a time for straddling two seasons, having fun, and waking up excited each morning to see what looks different!
Viva la spring!
Make the most of your year’s hard work by picking and storing your fruit correctly using these simple tips.
Learn how to prepare for rain and protect your fruit from damage with these handy tips (some of them are a bit surprising).
Thinning cherry trees is not usually needed because they’re not prone to biennial bearing. That’s lucky, because it would be a huge job.