Thursday 12 May 2011

Things have gone pear-shaped!

Is it going to be a good year for my fruit trees, I wonder? At blossom time the weather was warm, sunny and still, so ideal for pollination. Hopefully the bees made the most of it. Often we have gales and heavy rain, which can destroy the blossoms before pollination takes place.

My little Minarette trees are never going to produce a huge crop, but it looks as if several fruits have formed this year. These are pears (variety "Conference"), and they certainly look pear-shaped.

Last year my pear tree produced only 5 fruits, but it looks as if this little cluster alone will give me a similar quantity, and there are several such clusters on the tree. Not all the blossoms will have been successfully pollinated. The fruitlet at the right of this picture (the yellow one) is obviously one of these, and I expect it to drop off soon. I think the trees naturally adjust their quantity of fruit to suit the conditions - if they get too little water, for instance, some of the fruitlets will be discarded. I'm hoping to maximise the yield this year by being extra careful to water the tree when it needs it (and this year we have had the driest Spring for many years).

These are apples (variety: "Scrumptious"). The individual fruitlets look good, but there are not as many of them as I would have liked. Perhaps I'm being greedy, but I had sort of imagined that a tree like mine would produce 30 or 40 fruit...

And the Plum tree ("Victoria")? Well, the less said about her the better. I have concluded that the tree is diseased. Quite apart from producing next to no flowers, the foliage of this tree is now looking very sickly: pale and blotchy. Several of the leaves have gone brown and dry.

 I think maybe we have reached the stage where it has to go. OK, gardeners like a challenge, but they also like a crop! I have lavished a fair bit of TLC on this tree for the past 5 years or so, and it has not done well. It's time to replace it... I have a mind to get an Apricot tree. Does anyone in the UK have experience of growing Apricots that they can share with me? For instance, when is the best time to buy / plant one?

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