March 11, 2019

Bloom is all over in most of California. Except for a few Butte and Padre orchards, pollination is finished. All other varieties have lost most of their petals and have no viable flowers left for pollination. Trees are turning green as leafy tissue emerges. Now that bloom is essentially over, growers are beginning to assess the bloom.

“This year’s bloom provided limited pollination. If it wasn’t raining, it was windy. If it wasn’t windy, it was cold or any combination of these conditions,” said Modesto area Blue Diamond Grower Hans Wagner III. “The only thing that might help us is if the colder weather allowed the blossoms to stay viable longer.”

Padre Bloom – Stanislaus County

This sentiment sums up the general outlook of bloom through most of California. While there were numerous challenges during bloom this year, there are few things to give growers some optimism going forward. Wagner mentions correctly that the cooler weather can keep pollen viable for longer periods, giving bees more time to pollinate blossoms. This year also saw great overlap within orchards between varieties. All Nonpareil, Monterey, and California type pollinizers bloomed within a day of each other. Padre, while starting a few days behind the Butte, caught up as Butte was reaching its peak, allowing plenty of pollen for both varieties. As tough as the weather made pollination activity, when bees were able to work they had plenty of open flowers on all varieties to forage.

After a relatively calm Friday, a storm system moved through California on Saturday afternoon. The wind and rain, while not as severe as earlier storms, was enough to blow off the straggling petals in all varieties except Butte and Padre. Sunday brought periods of sunny and warm weather that had bees humming in what remained of the Padre bloom. Bees are starting to seek other pollen sources where available as the almond flowers get blown off.

By Brian Noeller

Photos by Mel Machado, Ernie Reichmuth, KC Stone, Matt Willson and Dennis Meinberg

Northern Conditions and Bloom Status

High Temperature: 58°F
Low Temperature: 42°F
Wind: 7 mph. Gusts up to 15 mph.
Rain: .2" throughout the day.
Sky Conditions: Patchy clouds.
Bee Activity: 4 hours of fair activity.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
VarietyDormantGreen TipPink BudPopcornBloomPetal FallJacketOut of Jacket
Sonora%%%%%%99%1%
Nonpareil%%%%%25%75%%
California%%%%%25%75%%
Carmel%%%%3%27%70%%
Peerless%%%%%%99%1%
Monterey%%%%%25%75%%
Butte%%%%15%35%50%%
Padre%%%%20%40%40%%

Central Conditions and Bloom Status

High Temperature: 61°F
Low Temperature: 39°F
Wind: 4 mph. Gusts up to 8 mph.
Rain: .1" overnight.
Sky Conditions: Patchy clouds.
Bee Activity: 3 hours of good activity.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
VarietyDormantGreen TipPink BudPopcornBloomPetal FallJacketOut of Jacket
Sonora%%%%%%96%4%
Nonpareil%%%%%5%94%1%
California%%%%%6%94%%
Carmel%%%%%24%76%%
Monterey%%%%%5%95%%
Butte%%%%7%33%60%%
Padre%%%%13%40%47%%

Southern Conditions and Bloom Status

High Temperature: 61°F
Low Temperature: 36°F
Wind: 2 mph. Gusts up to 10 mph.
Rain: .1" overnight.
Sky Conditions: High, thin clouds.
Bee Activity: 4 to 6 hours of good activity depending on region.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
VarietyDormantGreen TipPink BudPopcornBloomPetal FallJacketOut of Jacket
Sonora%%%%%%88%12%
Nonpareil%%%%%%94%6%
California%%%%%2%92%6%
Carmel%%%%%10%88%2%
Monterey%%%%%8%87%5%
Butte%%%%8%32%60%%
Padre%%%%19%41%40%%

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