Pink

The blossoms above are at the magical stage known in the industry as “Pink”.  This is a stage in the fruit development that in commercial orchards starts a massive spraying program, but to us is just a pretty stage of the apple blossom.  The few blossoms that have a lot of white in them are almost at the “balloon” stage, the next step right before full blossom.  After they reach full blossom the pollen will be viable for about 5-7 days; about 5-7 days after that the blossom ovules will either swell up into little apples or dry up and fall off, depending if they were pollinated or not.

In a cold climate the apple tree blossoms all at once and you get a big show.  This is because the blossom stage is a vunerable time from frost and the tree tries to get it over in a short of time as possible.  But in a warm climate like Southern California the blossom time is much more extended, often stretching over a month or more.  This would drive commercial growers nuts as it would make it almost impossible to time their spraying programs.  But to the home grower it just means you get apples over a longer period, which is just all right by me. 

This may be part of how the misconception that apples are not suited for warm climates originated, as most agricultural advice has been directed towards the commercial grower.  It is part of our mission here at Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery to provide advice for the home gardener, which is sometimes much different than for the commercial grower. 

There are a few apples that do have a condensed blossom period here such as Dorsett Golden, Anna, Fuji, Braeburn, Terry Winter, Rome Beauty, Gala, and Carolina Red June.  These would be considered “low chill”, but that doesn’t mean higher-chill apples won’t do well here also.

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