THE LONG WINTER and cool spring may be frustrating to heat-starved New Englanders, but it is good news for the region’s apple growers. An early spring — as occurred in 2010 and 2012 — forces a premature bloom in the apple orchard, putting the delicate flowers and nascent apples at risk of frost damage for an extended period.
This year is more normal, from an apple perspective. You can see the dramatic difference in our Spring 2015 McIntosh News, the quarterly newsletter of the New England Apple Association. A photograph taken at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury, Connecticut, on April 5, 2012 (page 7), shows smudge pots beneath green grass and budded trees, a strategy for limiting frost damage.
This spring, photographs from Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, Massachusetts, (page 1) nearly three weeks later on April 23, shows green-tip buds just emerging. Bloom is expected around May 10 or later at most of the region’s apple orchards.
There is plenty more in McIntosh News, including:
- A recipe for Birdie’s Favorite Apple Brownies from Sentinel Pine Orchards, Shoreham, Vermont, on page 7; and
- Links to our three-part video series on integrated pest management (IPM), an entertaining and educational look at how New England apple growers deal with bugs, bacteria, and other orchard threats (pages 2-4).
If you haven’t seen the series already, it is well worth it, and if you have already viewed them, they are well worth watching again at this critical time of year, when many orchard pests are re-emerging after a winter of dormancy.
The engaging and informative programs star apple growers John and Pete Rogers and Greg Parzych of Rogers Orchards in Southington, Connecticut, and Chuck Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire.
We hope you enjoy the videos and newsletter, and we welcome your feedback and comments.
Russell Steven Powell