Friday, March 1, 2013

Early spring brings vibrant almond blossom

In the photos, taken today, almond trees blossom in an orchard just east of Red Bluff.

Despite last month's concerns about a possible shortage of honey bees, the nearly ideal weather we've been experiencing these days has made for a vibrant almond bloom, industry and University of California Cooperative Extension experts are telling me.

Whatever shortage of bees there might have been in some orchards, the warm weather is giving the bees plenty of time to move from tree to tree.

Almonds are typically the first of the blossoms to show up in the northern Sacramento Valley. Other fruits and nuts won't be far behind; in fact their blossoms are already going strong in the San Joaquin Valley, the Fresno County Farm Bureau reported this week.

Here's how to tell them apart, according to the Farm Bureau:
Almond Blossoms have white petals. Two or more varieties may be planted in the same orchard for cross pollination by bees. Harvesting, usually done mechanically, runs from late August to early October.
Plum Blossoms are white. At least two varieties will be planted in an orchard for cross pollination. Over 200 varieties are grown commercially. They are harvested in mid to late September.
Apricot Blossoms have pink petals. Fewer than 12 varieties are grown commercially. Harvest season lasts two to three weeks during mid-to-late May.
Peach and Nectarine Blossoms feature pink to red petals and bloom at the same time. Over 100 varieties are grown commercially. Harvest runs mid-May to October.
Apple Blossoms have white petals. Up to six varieties are grown commercially in Fresno County. Harvest is August to November.
Citrus Blossoms are white with an aromatic fragrance. Navel and Valencia oranges, mandarins and lemons are the most common citrus grown locally.
For my report on the blossoms and how the weather might shape up in March, check back at

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