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Bees buzzing over pear blossom at Wisley: Orchard Blog March 2014 - with Jim Arbury

Posted by Sara Draycott on 23 Mar 2014 at 09:29 PM

Spring is definitely upon us. After the late spring of last year I am surprised by this year’s early spring. I should be though with a mild winter and warm early spring weather it is inevitable. The first pear cultivars were flowering last week and are now in full bloom. These are early flowering pears such as 'Brockworth Park', 'Beurre Precoce' and 'Crawford'.

 

The apples are also on the move with the earliest flowering cultivar ‘Crimson Beauty’ now showing some pink flower buds. Early seasons are a worry as there is still a long way to go until the risk of frost is past. The warm weather is great though and bees, both bumbles and honey bees are flying. My hive is active with bees bringing in yellow pollen (probably from willows). Pollen is a sign that the bees have brood and so the colony is expanding. There were honey bees on the pear blossom this morning which is good for both pears and bees. If frosts are forecast you can cover small trees and those trained against walls and fences with fleece but remember to remove it the following day.


We are just completing planting as the ground has dried out enough at last. I will also be grafting apple rootstocks next week to replace trees in the orchard. I have already cut back plum rootstocks budded last July and the buds are starting to move.

 

Now is a good time to complete any weeding in the fruit garden and mulch around trees and bushes with manure or compost to help retain moisture. The wet conditions may have caused root damage so many plants may be more at risk of drought stress this year.

As I rush to complete preparations on my allotment I realise that spring is usually a rush and better when it is warming up quickly.

Jim Arbury 19/3/2014

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