Spring in the orchard

After a freeze desroyed 2022 it was great to get reintroduced to some blooms



Looking great, a nice day in the orchard. Do you need to do much weeding?

Not much weeding.

Until last summer I had Dewit 5 oz weedblock in the aisles and woodchips under the trees.

The weedblock had started to deteriorate because I had been somewhat too busy to remove detritus from the cloth. Although no weeds grew THROUGH the cloth from underneath, the roots of any weeds that took hold on top were able to penetrate down to the soil underneath.

You can imagine what problems that caused since I had about 800 feet of 5 foot weedblock.

So last summer being a 99% non-bearing year, I took the time that was freed up to remove the weedblock and now the ENTIRE orchard floor is covered by 5-6 inches of hardwood chips.

So… that is a long winded explanation why weeding has not been much of a problem… fertilizing, now that is a whole other story. :thinking:



That is a lot of work. I tried to put wood chips down with limited sucess. Maybe mine was not thick enough. Rhizomatous grass, dandelions, dock are now getting in.

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Magnificent Mike! Just beautiful. I remember the first pics of when you started planting your orchard. It has grown into a show stopper!




I have been a little AWOL the last 2 seasons.

The first season because I developed a lower back problem that sidelined me.

The second was last year when mom’s health began to fail and coupled with the crop wipeout it left little time to engage on the “growing” aspect of online chats.

I see the forum has grown quite nicely.



Different shades of apple blossom on May 8. Here are the first five.


Kidd’s Orange Red

Connell Red


Esopus Spitzenberg


And five more.

Hansen’s Redflesh

Glowing Coal


Northern Spy

Twenty Ounce


Mike, Glad to see you back and the blooms from your espaliers. Calville Blanc is one of my favorite apples.

Your Kamijn de Sonnaville blooms for me this year. Thanks.


Beautiful close up pics. How does Hansen Red flesh taste?

Astringent and acidic. We add them to some cider for deeper color and a bit of kick — we do fresh cider only.

Cider. Regular or hard cider. Nice color, I bet. I have not grown any apples intended for cider.

Cider was an extra benefit. Hansen’s was one of my few excursions into redfleshed apple, and I acquired it after reading advice that crab apple trees serve an orchard well for their pollination proclivities.

That Hansen’s flower shape is interesting.

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In the Shenandoah Valley, we had no bad late freezes last year and a few borderline ones this year. Apple blossoms were fine. However, for reasons I am not sure of, we will have a pear crop failure this year (was fine last year). We theorize that because of the winter that was not here, the pears blossomed early and did not get properly pollinated. Plenty of blossoms, just no pears. The apples this year are, if anything, too prolific. Already have lots of 10mm+ apples on 80% of the trees (starting blossoming in early April.) Liberty, Goldens, Honeycrisp, etc., some even bigger. Just sprayed NAA along with Carbaryl 4L to thin them - hope it works or I will have biannual city next year. Problem this year exacerbated by weather is that we have some Fireblight strikes on sensitive trees - used Cuprofix ahead of time (but only once - usually do twice) and have sprayed Harbour three times already (and pay attention to the Cornell Maryblyt website). Issue is weather - wind and rain. Cannot spray if over 10 mph as per labels and when using RUPs like Agri-Mek and borderline ones like Imidan that is a big no no. (Poisoning adjacent cows and goats of neighbors would not be appreciated by them I am sure.)

A more recent picture of Hansen’s Redflesh.