Dave Gleason Talks Bees, Bloom, and Harvest in the Superfresh Growers® Orchards
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
YAKIMA, WA - Orchard blooms are wrapping up for the year, and Superfresh Growers® anticipates cherry harvest on June 10, with apricots to follow in early July. The company’s delightful Chief Horticulturist, Dave Gleason, shared his orchard insights, along with the company's latest video depicting the magic of the bloom, below.
According to a press release, a strong spring bloom has ensured a healthy feast for bees, as they pollinated the Superfresh Growers® apple, pear, cherry, and apricot orchards. Earlier this spring, Gleason commented that the aromas of all the blossoms were “intoxicating.” During bloom season, the Superfresh Growers orchard team hand thins blossoms, pulling off unneeded flowers. The Superfresh team picks off outside blooms, leaving the king bloom, which will produce a larger size apple.
“A tree will bloom way more flowers than it can handle, if they all become apples,” describes Gleason. “In fact, we only need one percent of the flowers to give us a full crop. If all the flowers stayed on the trees and produced apples, the apples would stay very small as they compete for tree nutrients.”
Bees are busy at work in the months of April and May, pollinating each blossom that will become a cherry, apple, pear, or apricot. Many fruit varieties need to be cross-pollinated, and rely on bees to set the crop for harvest. As bees travel from flower to flower in search of nectar, they brush up against the pollen located on the flower’s stamen. Pollen clings to the bee and is later transferred to other blooms as the bee continues to search for more nectar. Bees visit 10-15 flowers per minute, and up to 5,000 flowers a day! They are responsible for approximately 90% of the pollination of fruit trees.
As the harvest progresses, stay tuned with AndNowUKnow as we continue to report.