By Kevin Irvin
This year has been quite the roller coaster as far as weather as I am sure you all know. Many iron-clad varieties had survival problems and it wasn’t just apples! It also is dependent on the micro-climate we each have at our respective orchards. Some fared far better than others simply for where their orchard is located, others not so well, unfortunately.
My Trailman looked dead but the cambium was bright green yet the tree had not broken dormancy. I didn’t prune anything off and waited. It finally broke dormancy on the 29th of June and ultimately only had a few tips that died so waiting on pruning was good on my part because initially I would have severely pruned it. Most all my other trees suffered some dieback and no blossoms, so I won’t get many apples from the outdoor trees this year. Many fruit spurs were desiccated on most my trees.
There really isn’t anything one can do about the weather that Alaska has, but you can wait before you dig up the tree or prune everything off. When there is question about survival on trees it is best to use your fingernail to dig into cambium on the top and down on the rootstock (this of course doesn’t work to well on older trees, for those you would need a knife). If it is a bright green then it most likely is alive and if brown well, there isn’t much life in it. Why a tree takes so long to break dormancy certainly is a good question to ask. I suppose it has to do with the tree being in a state of ‘super dormancy’ and if not for all the hot weather in June it might not have come out of it.