Monday, August 24, 2009

What's Up With That Apple Tree?

My little apple tree which bore only 1 fruit in 2006, and has slowly been adding a fruit or two each year, is bearing a number of apples this year:

Apple tree
In fact, a few apples have already fallen, and I've enjoyed sampling them. But a few days ago, I noticed.... blossoms?
Late apple blossom
In fact there are a number of blossoms, right alongside the fruit which is nearly ripe:
Apple blossoms and ripe fruit
Late apple blossoms with fruit
This next photo shows apple blossoms (at bottom, a bit washed out by the camera's flash) with near-ripe apples, and a number of green raspberries overhead:
Apple blossoms and fruit
Yes, the golden raspberries are putting out another crop:
Fall crop of raspberries
But that's nothing new, they seem to put out a summer & a fall crop each year, yielding a nice sweet surprise as late as October and November.

Anyhow, this is not about the raspberries.... or is it? I now remember that about a month or so ago, I decided to cut back some of the apple branches, since they were colliding with the raspberry patch along the fence, making it hard to walk through that area. Also, I figured it would be better to have shorter stronger branches rather than longer weaker ones. But looking closer tonight, I realize that it is each of the branches which I cut back, which put out the blossoms. So maybe some magical combination of a dip in temperature followed by more warm weather, and the cutting back of the branches, seemed to trigger the blossoms.

I hope this will not affect the tree's ability to respond to the REAL spring when it comes. I'll see if any fruit sets from these blossoms. I think it would be wise to remove any fruit before the winter.

I suppose this illustrates why my espalier apples are always very efficient at producing fruit (and each year I need to prune back the fruits very aggressively). Since the tree's upward growth is continually impaired, more energy is directed to bearing fruit:
Espalier apple tree
The same with my espalier asian pear, which I didn't prune aggressively enough this year (and I also need to tie up the branch tips):
Espalier asian pear tree
While I'm shamelessly showing off my fruit, here is my italian plum tree this year, which bore exactly 5 fruit last year. The fruits are very sweet, and freestone.
Italian plum tree
Italian plum closeup of fruit
I don't know what causes the scars on most of the plums, could that be a disease? Does anyone recognize it?

The grapes have finally established on the side of the shed, and this is the first year we've had fruit. So I'll be able to find out what types of grapes I've been trying to grow these past few years (since I didn't pay enough attention at the time - they were a gift of cuttings):
Grapes on the vine


Laura Gardens in Desert said...

Your espalier trees are stunning! I love those plums. I remember sitting in a similar plum tree once while picking them, and the vision from inside was magical!

Sylvana said...

I should espalier my Luscious pear. It wants to send out really long branches outward and gets sulky when I prune them down to make them stronger. If I leave the branches alone, I get dozens of pears on my little 5' tall tree. When I trim - nothing.
Your espaliers are gorgeous.

MaryNeedsSleep said...

Came across your blog while googling for pictures of Asian pear blossoms... what beautiful fruit you have! I was wondering how far apart you plant your espaliered trees, and if you know what rootstock they are on?

Garden Lily said...

Laura & Sylvana - Thank you. I love the espalier trees also, and wish I could find room for more of them.

MaryNeedsSleep - The 3 espaliers are about 12" from the fence, and I've given them 2 panels each, so that is about 8' on each side. The apple after a few years has already reached that length. So I plan to start cutting it back at that length - I'm sure it won't be happy about it, but I don't have much choice. So 10' or 12' would be quite feasible, and with support, it could hold a lot of fruit.

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