Apple trees have bloomed statewide, growers’ group announces (photos available)

Here’s a New York sign that spring has arrived: apple trees are now in bloom across the state, the state’s apple growers’ association reports.

Temperatures have warmed enough statewide to coax blossoms from their winter sleep, turning orchards into seas of pink buds that are opening into white flowers. While blossoms are already peaking in the Hudson Valley, they are just starting to break open in western New York, and will soon follow around Lake Champlain.

“I love saying this every year: Grab your cameras and take a drive this weekend. More than 11 million apple trees across the state are in bloom right now, and they are gorgeous,” said New York Apple Association (NYAA) President Jim Allen. “The whole show will be over before Memorial Day.”

This year’s bloom is now on track with the perennial schedule, despite a false start due to a brief warming in early April. For the most part, concerns then about potential frost damage have largely receded as bloom has progressed – though it is still too early in a long growing season to prognosticate about the state’s 2016 harvest size, Allen noted.

The state’s apple trees generally don’t mind the cold temperatures and snow associated with New York winters. In fact, apple trees actually need a certain number of “chilling hours” before they can bloom, notes Allen. Apple buds progress from winter’s dormant brown, woody tips to green tips, to bright pink clusters as the buds start to open, to full white flowers.

Apple harvest dates vary by variety and growing region. New York state growers will start harvest in August for some early-season varieties and in the southernmost growing areas, and be largely finished by October for late-season varieties and in northern growing areas.

2015 crop will be sold out before the fall harvest
“The 2015 New York state apple crop will sell out well before harvest starts this fall, so apple fans who haven’t had their fill yet will want to stock up now,” said Allen. “Most of that fruit is being stored in high-tech controlled atmosphere storerooms that maintain the apples’ just-picked flavor.”

Note to editors:
• Photos of this year’s bloom are available to support this story via NYAA’s Flickr photo-sharing site. NYAA grants permission for use of our photos in editorial coverage.
• To get a bloom update from a grower in your area, consult NYAA’s spokesgrower list.