Did you know that different apple varieties come into blossom at different times?
We often extol the benefits of keeping a fruit tree diary, to get to know your trees better. In fact, we think it’s so important that our Grow Great Fruit members get a Fruit Tree Diary when they join the program
This can be really helpful if you are trying to diagnose a problem with your trees. For example, an apple tree that doesn’t set fruit might not have a polliniser that flowers at the same time nearby.
So in the interest of showing you what we mean, here’s what some apple varieties look like at the beginning of October in central Victoria.
Apple varieties in blossom
The photo at the top of the blog is Golden Delicious. This stage of flowering is called “balloon blossom”.
At the same time, the flowers on the Jonathan apple tree are a bit more advanced than the Goldens.
Granny Smith apple
Granny Smith (below) is just past full bloom. You can see there are a few flowers where the petals have already fallen off (called shuck fall).
Granny Smith is a great polliniser for lots of other varieties, but only if they flower at the same time. You can see there are still a few flowers not open yet, but within a few days, this variety will be past its prime.
Pink Lady, almost in full bloom
Gravensteins are one of the later flowering apples. At the start of Octcober the flower buds are just starting to swell and open up. This stage is called ‘early pink bud’.
Bramley apples are a heritage English cooking apple, and a great favourite with apple pie devotees. They are are slightly later to flower. This stage is called pink bud.
Cox’s Orange Pippin
Another heritage English apple, Cox’s has a unique floral flavour and is absolutely delicious. At this time of year, they are at about the same stage of flowering as Bramley, i.e., just waking up!
Snow apples are named for the whiteness of the flesh, and are also called ‘Lady of the Snow’ or ‘Fameuse’. They are significantly more advanced, at full bloom.
Gala, at balloon blossom stage…
Delicious sweet Fuji are a bit more advanced than Gala and are only about 3 days from full bloom.
Why does it matter when your apple trees flower?
You can see that even within these few apple varieties, there is quite a lot of variation. If two varieties don’t have a reasonable overlap of their blossom period, they won’t work as pollinisers for each other.
If you have a low-performing or non-fruiting apple tree in your garden, you can straight away see how noting a ‘full bloom’ date for your trees can definitely be useful!
How do you tell if your tree is at the full bloom stage?
About 60-80% of the flower buds on the tree will be open, and about 10% will already be on the ground. If you tap a branch gently, some petals will fall off.
Enjoy getting to know your trees!