Apple Tree Blossoms 2017

May is apple blossom season in Central New York!

I worry like a farmer when the flower buds begin to open. Killing spring frosts are common and they can wreak havoc on new growth. We escaped those this year, but the bloom was greeted by cool, wet weather that greatly reduced the activity of bees and other insect pollinators.

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Warm weather finally arrived! Several days of summer-like weather really perked things up and the bloom peaked.

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We weren’t “out of the woods” yet. A clash of cold and warm air masses produced severe thunder storms, complete with high winds and hail. Wind in excess of 40 miles per hour damages trees, especially those that are predisposed due to poor form and/or location. Of the dozens of wild apple trees that I manage, two were affected. One, on soft, wet soil in a stream bottom, was uprooted completely and will become firewood and cottontail habitat later in the year. The other, pictured below, had poor structure: two large stems separated by a seam of “included” bark rather than solid wood. Lacking a strong connection, the trunks were ripped apart in the high winds.

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Days after the storm, the resilience of nature was apparent. Most trees, as well as their blossoms, appeared to have survived our erratic spring weather and should produce some apples this fall.

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The bloom is fading, the ground now littered with petals, but I’m still looking up. Rose-breasted grosbeaks, singing in the tree tops as they forage on flowers, have my attention!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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12 thoughts on “Apple Tree Blossoms 2017

  1. Apple blossoms are always so enchanting to view, and your photos give them their due! Ten years ago, I lost both of my apple trees to wind, and have not replaced them yet. While they were alive, we were always “threatened” by too many apples ripening, and finding ways to consume them and giving them away. 🙂

    • Thanks Hien. Most of the trees that I manage are wild, ie scattered about on a 30 acre natural area. I sometimes pick and eat as I walk the trails, but my main goal is to produce food for deer, cottontails, turkeys, grouse and squirrels. The more the merrier!

  2. Gorgeous close-ups of the blossoms – second image pops off the screen, so textural and real. Glad to read of the trees resilience in the face of contrary weather and that the fruit will set.

    • Thanks Liz. The second is my favorite. When the weather is good there’s a lot going on in these trees and it’s most satisfying to settle in and soak up the sights and sounds. I don’t have the lens to capture much of the bird activity but fond memories persist never-the-less.

  3. This is a wonderful post Nick. I too really like your second photo but i also deeply appreciate the photo of the path and the wild apples-that’s the best. And your photos of the Rose Breasted Grosbeak are superb.
    i enjoy our wild apples almost more than the ones up by the house although i wouldn’t be without the Wolf River Apple west of the porch. It’s apples are huge and the best for pies.

    • Thanks Holly. Wild apple trees really captivate me. I’ve discovered many “varieties” in the wild that have slightly different flower color, blooming times and of course fruit characteristics. Heritage apples? This homestead dates back to 1854, so who knows. I’ve grafted two of them onto seedling stock. My favorite graft produces a hard green apple that is barely edible but persists well into the winter…and feeds the critters. Curious to know the story behind your Wolf River Apple…. .

  4. You make me long for the apple trees I left at the previous house. There’s nothing quite as wonderful and a juicy, crunchy apple freshly picked. Your images are so lovely. I think your Rose-breasted grosbeak is much prettier than our Evening variety. Just MY opinion, of course! 🙂

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