Primary, secondary, tertiary apple bloom in 2012

Will these fruit add up?

This frosty year seems to have promoted a second and even third bloom. Our apple crop is made up of primary bloom (bloom on 2-year-old and older wood) every year, but this year the secondary bloom (bloom on 1- year-old wood) may be important in setting a crop. This secondary bloom opens later than primary bloom and will tend to produce lesser quality fruit with shorter storage life. Even these blooms have been damaged by the numerous frost this year.

Perhaps because of the extensive frost damage, our attention turns to this rare third wave of bloom, or tertiary bloom, which appears to be mostly undamaged. This tertiary bloom develops on a few varieties on shoot tips and on bourse shoots. If this weak tertiary bloom set at all, they tend to produce small fruit and these fruit have potential even lesser quality than fruits from secondary bloom.

Of course, all these blooms are very susceptible to fire blight. Secondary and tertiary bloom can produce fruit, but fruit is weaker and does not set well most years. Also, these fruits are of poor quality and shorter shelf life. We expect all apple fruits to be marked up with frost marks and internal damage. The take-home message is to not expect excellent fruit quality from secondary and tertiary bloom fruits.

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