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in Problem solving
We are in a frost pocket (every month except August over the last 18 years) and we never bother covering our fruit trees. It all depends I suppose on where you live and how deep the frost gets. The worry of damaging the buds is a minor one and down to how carefully one puts on the fleece and takes it off.
Hows that for a non-commital answer?
Last year the timing was all out and a lot of apple growers suffered-having said that I had loads and couldn't even give them away
As for fleecing-how are the pollinators going to do their job?
My feeling is that this year -if things go to plan with so many trees not carrying a crop last year -that it will be bumper time
Obviously one only puts a fleece on when frost is forecast and it is taken off during the day when the bees are active.
I think the problem was more likely to be lack of pollinating insects because of the weather, it happens as well when there is a lot of rain at flowering time. Apple trees are pretty hardy. The flowers will drop off if not pollinated anyway. Is there another apple tree near you that pollinates your Braeburn? You can't grow fruit on a lone apple tree, it needs another of the right pollinating group.
You live in Wiltshire - don't worry with fleecing - it was the lack of pollinating insects due to the poor weather that caused such abysmal crops last year, not the effect of the weather itself on the blossom.
We must cross our fingers and live in hope of a milder and dryer spring
Have you got a suitable pollinator nearby?