The buds are blossoming and here at HMC Farms we are slowly shifting from winter to spring. The winter is the time our trees rest and recoup for the upcoming tree fruit season. The three things in the winter that greatly affect the outcome of our summer crop are; chill hours, rainfall, and bloom timing.
Chill Hours – Every winter every tree must receive anywhere from 800 to 1000 chill hours. Chill hours are the number of hours 45 degrees and less between November 1st and February 28th. This winter, even with all of the rain we’ve been having, all of our trees received more then the minimum requirement of 800 hours.
Rainfall – It was a wet winter here in the Valley with rainfall 110% above normal for this time period. Now all we can do is cross our fingers for a spring without hail. To help our odds McClarty Farms has eleven hail cannons set up throughout our orchards that can cover up to 200 acres. Hail cannons send sound waves into the cloud to break the hail up into a non harmful slush.
Bloom timing – Nature will do what nature wants, and some years the winter is warmer and the buds want to break in late January, other years we have the opposite problem. Bloom timing is a critical step in the growing process because it is when pollination occurs. Bloom also determines the length of time a vulnerable bud is exposed to unpredictable weather conditions.