Full apple bloom reached Saturday

WENATCHEE — There won’t be many apple blossoms to be seen during during this year’s Washington State Apple Blossom Festival.

Apple trees in Wenatchee reached full bloom Saturday, April 20, a full week earlier than the 30-year average of April 27.

Most apple trees at lower elevations and warmer areas reached full bloom a few days earlier last week, wrote Tim Smith, Washington State University extension agent for Chelan and Douglas counties. Smith maintains an online model — http://tinyurl.com/bloomtime — that tracks apple bloom. The model is used by apple and other tree fruit growers to time their pesticide applications and other orchard activities. The model is based on Red Delicious apple trees located at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center on Western Avenue.

Full bloom of pears and cherries — the region’s two other main tree fruit crops — occurred earlier, although there are still plenty of pear blossoms to be seen at higher elevations in the upper Wenatchee River Valley near Peshastin and cherry and apple blossoms in the higher Wenatchee Heights and Stemilt Hill areas.

The earliest apple full bloom date on record was April 11, 1934. The latest on record was May 18, 1922. The earliest full bloom in recent history was April 13, 2004.

Last year, full bloom occurred April 25.