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The English Apple Man


9th Apr 2021 - Frost!!!!!!!!!

Frost is the fear for fruit growers, vineyards and gardeners, and this past week, Jack Frost has paid a call on UK apple and pear growers. Vineyards in France have been facing frost damage since February


Below: two flowers; one ok and the other 'black and dead'

Of course there are (at least) five flowers on each bud and one or two being lost to frost, is not necessarily a disaster!


My agronomist friend in Kent shares his findings!


Quite a bit of frost damage on Bramley's in the Weald. Also, quite bad on Braeburn in low-lying areas as well. Not a disaster yet, as most of the worst affected orchards got frosted last year as well, so there was way too much bud on the trees. Could do with some good weather in flowering now to save the day.


In France


The French government has declared an agricultural disaster after an unusual early spring frost damaged crops and vines across the country.


Below: Frost Candles at Chablis in France

The apple and pear season is still behind last year. although varieties differ in the bud development stage.


Below: left; James Grieve and right; Red Devil at Green Cluster stage in The EAM's Garden


The general consensus is most apple varieties at Mouse Ear - Green Cluster stage.


Freezing temperatures this last week are worrying as some varieties in some orchard regions approach green cluster/pink bud stage!


Temperatures have been recorded as low as -4.5C.


Frost damage has been found and the danger is not over yet!


From my Agronomist friend in the West Midlands


A very cold start to the week in the West Midlands with temperatures as low as -4.5 C recorded on Tuesday night. Sadly this has resulted in some damage to the more forward varieties (e.g. Smitten and Red Windsor - picture left.)


Growers with Frostbuster equipment were out in the night on Monday and Tuesday, but the frost was not a classic radiation frost, just some very cold air from the north, with temperatures below freezing for at least 8 hours in some instances.


Cherry crops are generally covered but due to the wind one grower hadn't got all his tunnels skinned with plastic and the cherry trees looked like this at 8.00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.


Plums are almost at full bloom, and are not afforded the protection of tunnels, so we wait to see how much of the crop is set, if at all.


Below: Cherry flower buds severely frosted!




The saving grace of this frost is perhaps that it is still early and the damage may be limited, especially to our main apple variety, Gala. Growers are applying growth regulators to try and mitigate the effects of the frost. Last year we had frost in May and that was much more damaging.



Protecting against frost has driven many developments. Candles are still used in Wine growing regions of France, the Frostbuster delivering hot air produce by gas canisters on a machine looking very much like an orchard sprayer, and overhead sprinklers which are used by many fruit growers in Europe and UK. Ben Bardsley released an excellent video of his frost busting sprinklers this week. which is featured below!


Click on BARDSLEY ENGAND Frost Protection



A personal family story!


My Grand Daughter has bonded her love of art with her dog, and between them created unique pictures.


I suppose they would feature under title 'modern art' and they (to me) are just as meaningful as many of the creations of the established purveyors of modern art. But, I am of course a bit biased!


Anyway, Carolanne and Havier create these mini masterpieces by taking a 8" x 8" canvas, onto which she squeezes different paint colours, before placing the 'paint laden canvas' in a clear plastic bag, and onto which she spreads something tasty. Havier then licks the tasty food of and in the process, creates another 'mini masterpiece'
























Below: left; spreading something tasty and right; Havier creates another masterpiece



Should any of my readers be interested, please click on LINK below.




Below: My 'Mini Masterpiece' received from my Grand Daughter for my recent Birthday!!!



That is all for this week


Take Care


The English Apple Man