EVA-Apples: End of May there was again another frost wave rolling over Europe. Which preperatives did you take? What are you doing once you are aware that a frost night is going to be ahead? By the way, did you have any frost damages?
Karin: As we have installed a frost protection in 2017 we more or less just need to make sure and check if our forst protection is working and running correctly. Once we have controlled the functionality and we know that a frost night is ahead we are in a permanent alert situation. We Need to get up a couple of times each night and are checking the outside temperature. Onces we see that temperature has reached a critical point we are starting our frost protection. This year we have managed the whole situation very good, wherefore we didn’t have any frost damages.
EVA-Apples: May usually is also the time when the first thunderstorms arrive? Lately they are coming togheter with strong rains and hail. At what time are you closing the hail nets in the orchards and what effect has the closed hail net on the development of the fruits?
Karin: We are closing the hail nets once the blossoming is over. The bees would have a hard time finding their way out of the orchareds if hail nets are closed. That’s why we are waiting until they have their job done. But as we are also having a frost protection System we also wait until the so called Ice Saints are over. Once These days have pased the risk of late frosts is sinking and we can close the hail nets. Because of the heavy weight of the hail/ice the nets would just crack under the enormous weight. But in general it’s important to close the nets as quickly as possible and not lose any time. Since , once the blossoming is over there are already small fruits on the trees and if hail would hit them they would be damaged. Of course, the disadvantage of the hail nets is, that there is not too much light coming through to the hail nets. But on the other hand, this is an advantage that fruits can’t get sun burned.
EVA Apples: Rain is important and good for the growth of the fruits. We had now some time with a lot of rain. What is your experience, isn’t too much rain also a potential threat for diseases and funguses?
Karin: Yes, too much rain is a potential risk factor for funguses and diseases. That’s why we Need to treat the orchards with phytosanitary measurements to prevent having a complete loss of the crop. Also if you are not setting the right measurements you will have additional problems the season after too. So that’s why it’s inevitable to do phytosanitary measurements before rain is expected.
EVA Apples: In the meantime we can already see some tiny apples on the trees. This is the first stage to influence the quality of the oncoming crop actively. How are you making sure, that only the best apples are staying on the trees?
Karin: Exactly. This is the thinning I was talking About earlier. Me and my Workers are going through the orchards and manually pick some of the smallest apples on the trees and are that way reducing the number of apples, in case this is necessary.
EVA Apples: Please also let us know what is the so called “June drop”? What is this and isn’t this also something which is good for you?
Karin: Yes, June drop means, that the trees are losing fruits themselves. There are certain measurements to help the tree for a stronger drop of fruits. This is helping us afterwards to be quicker during manual thinning. Because then we only need to put the focus during thining on the quality aspect and not on quantity reduction. So, over all, up to a certain amount June drop is something good for us.