...before they are hatched. The "Ashmead's Kernal" is plastered with blossom and a small team of hard-working bees are in attendance. If all the flowers were to turn into fruit, there would be over 1000 apples and I think something would break! Of course, some won't get pollinated and quite a few will be lost naturally in the "June Drop" There will still be far too many so I'll have to thin out the crop ruthlessly.
The tree suffers from "biennial bearing" and this is its "on" year. Thinning out the crop this year should help production next year.
It's also a bit prone to "bitter pit" a physiological disorder that results in small dead areas mainly near the surface of the fruit. The cause of this is not fully understood although it's believed to be due to the distribution of calcium in the tree. Preventative measures include:
- An even supply of water - so with our current drought, I'm irrigating already
- A good mulch to help reduce water loss
- Not too much fertiliser
- Not too much Winter pruning as this encourages too much shoot and leaf growth
- Spraying later on with Calcium Nitrate. Not very organic and would be a shame since the tree came to to me organic certified.
This may seem slightly geeky and over the top but did I ever mention that this is the World's finest apple? Oh! It seems I did.