We always like receiving updates from fruit growers and cider makers on their crops especially as Somerset was under water for months this year.
No one really knows the full damage that has been caused by the orchards standing in floods. Fruit trees certainly are not suited to wetland habitats. Flooding – or even prolonged water-logging – will kill the fibrous roots (which are incidentally designed to collect water) of fruit trees in a couple of weeks.
The Telegraph reports –
The wettest winter on record has left almost 17,500 acres of orchards under threat, and an attempt to restore one of the UK’s native crops could come to nothing as many of the million trees planted over the past decade may be lost
This is the 2014 crop report from Orchard Groundcare:
The season is deﬁnitely early, probably the earliest Spring since 2001. The blossom is looking very good on the whole and so far we have had very few insect problems. We are putting out our moth traps and the trees look clean and well.
Frost is forecast for the end of this week and we are crossing our ﬁngers it is not too hard. The pears will be all right because they are past petal fall, and most of the cider varieties are not quite there yet, but the dessert varieties are in danger if the frost is hard.
Falstaff is ﬁne down to about -3 but the Jonagolds may suffer. (In America they hover helicopters over the vineyards to move the air but I don’t think we can quite do that!)
With our new tree plantings we are very excited about the compost we have planted them into. It was put down towards the end of last year and the ﬁrst thing we noticed when planting was how much easier it has been to dig the holes for the new trees. And the worm activity is astonishing.
The big unknown is about tree recovery after the very wet weather, and that will still be a question mark for a few months to come.
To receive the regular newsletter this report was extracted from – email them here. Their site is a good resource for training events, funding and tips from an active orchard network in the heart of traditional Cider country.