Sunday, July 11, 2010

Apples after the June drop

A month ago the Prima apple tree was getting ready for the June drop, in which the clusters of tiny, developing apples self-prune, the presumably weakest dropping off to leave one apple to get the full amount of sustenance and grow as large as it can. Now a month later the June drop has taken care of most of the clusters. Here is the one I've been picturing from pre-blossom to this point. Looking into the center of the photo, you can see the scar where the other stems and apples have dropped. At 9 o'clock a lesion can be seen on one of the leaves; at 11 o'clock a leaf has been eaten by an insect; at 3 o'clock there is an insect on the leaf. The apple itself has a small vertical scar but is otherwise all right. This year the Prima tree has more apples than most. The freeze that affected the commercial orchards to the south and west didn't have any effect here. 

Most of the trees have some apples but only the Prima and the Greening behind the house appear loaded. To the right is a picture of a portion of the Prima, which is a full-sized tree about 25 years old. Most of the apple trees used to be bothered by porcupines in the late summer and fall. They would eat the apples, bite off the branches, and strip the bark, eventually killing the trees. But they haven't been around for about ten years now, for reasons unknown to me.

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