Nature, Wonder, and Resilience

Posted on Posted in Apples

Our Keepsake apples have experienced a roller coaster this year. Or, rather, *we’ve* experienced a roller coaster this year while observing our Keepsake apples.

On May 15 this year, the temperature dropped down to between 28 and 29 degrees. Most of the trees were done blossoming and had set their fruit or were in the process of setting their fruit. Those cold temps were below average, but still pretty normal for Minnesota at this time of the year. That’s why we don’t plant tomatoes until after Mothers Day, right? But since the trees had blossomed about two weeks early, these temps were enough to cause some trees to drop their fruit (like Chestnut Crabs, plums, and apricots) or sustain some frost damage in the form of frost rings. Some varieties, like Haralson, didn’t see any damage at all.

On the Keepsake apples, we saw more than just frost rings: some apples froze and died but on others, the entire apple was covered with a frost scar. Then, as the apples continued to grow post freeze, they started cracking. Some cracked all the way through to the seeds inside and others cracked more shallowly. We figured that the Keepsakes would be a 100% loss this year. And then nature surprised us again.

Extreme frost damage on Keepsakes
The applets with yellow stems died from the freeze and eventually dropped from the tree.

The Keepsake apples started healing themselves. The healing didn’t happened on the apples that cracked all the way to the core, but it did on the apples that had more shallow cracks.

Frost damage on a Keepsake
An example of a Keepsake that cracked, but then healed itself.

The growing season isn’t done yet and since we’ve never seen this degree of damage on apples before, we don’t know what will happen. But we’re optimistic.

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