It was a mixed year in the orchyard. We had some very warm periods in early spring followed by extended cold snaps and I’m going to blame the low yield mainly on that; very few of the apple trees set more than a handfull of apples and the grapes were essentially a lost cause from the start. What grapes there were ended up being enjoyed by the local wildlife… I did have a few apple trees that did set probably a half bushel per tree, mainly the later varieties such as Cox’s Orange Pippin, but there are not yet ripe. With the low sets, insect pressure was heavy and despite spraying through the season most of the apples I harvested had at least some evidence that they had been visited at some point in their growing cycle. All in all I barely covered the bottom of a bushel basket with usable apples.
The only exception to this trend was the Kiefer pear, which in it’s first year to have more than a handful of pears tried to make up for the entire orchard. There were probably 7 or 8 bushels on the tree, unfortunately we had a wind storm which came through before I could get props set and the combination of wind and fruit load broke several branches and knocked many pears off before the pears were ready to harvest. I ended up with 5 bushels of good quality pears harvested , but by the time I had cleaned up all the broken branches the tree is looking like it may need a year or two to recover.
Talking with some other fruit growers in the area my experiences were not unusual. With a few notable exceptions it was a phenomenal year for certain pear varieties and a very difficult year for apples.