Each year, I report the apple tree bloom on our blog so I can keep a record for the following year. This year, it just slipped by so quickly, I didn't get a chance to post it.
The Zestar trees, which have the very first fruit to ripen, began to bloom the week of May 16th with the other trees not far behind. At this point, we've now had petal fall and the apples are anywhere from 1/4" to 1/2" in size.
The orchard is just beautiful this year. We've done a thorough pruning job and have cleared all of the debris out from under the trees. Neil has diligently been using the weed whip after it gets mowed to keep it looking manicured. This also helps keep the fruit tree damaging insects at bay.
We've been working with a professional sprayer who has been doing an excellent job of applying the IPM spray method to the orchard. IPM stands for "Integrated Pest Management" and means that spraying is only done when needed and not on a routine schedule. There is a handy "Scab Hotline" number available to members of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association that lets folks know the level of scab spores that have been reported. When they are above threshold then it is time to spray. Scab is the number one fungus affecting Minnesota apples.