In preparation we need to ensure the male and female branches are ready to work in harmony to produce the best crop.
Many of us do not know the story behind which branches produce fruit and why they produce fruit. Like human reproduction, there are both male and female branches, with apples appearing solely on the female branches which have been crossed over with males. While male branches point upwards, female branches point downwards, with the ability to produce apples.
The second step in the Bramley apple journey requires the perfect formula to create the best possible apples.
Firstly, there must be buds on the branches of at least a few millimetres in length to guarantee apples.
Secondly, the Bramley tree needs 1000 cold hours each winter for the smaller buds on the branches to become apples; if there are over 1000 cold hours then the buds will turn to apples.
Finally, every Bramley apple needs at least 60 leaves, which feed the apple, to survive, therefore the tree needs just the right amount of pruning throughout the year.
Optimal conditions guarantee Bramley apples, however, the number of apples for intended growth must also be taken into consideration as it affects the sizing of the apples. There is a fine line between too many and not enough apples. If there are too many on one tree, then the apples do not swell, and they are not big enough. If there are too few apples, the apples grow too big.
Ultimately, balance is key throughout the whole process of producing a Bramley apple from start to finish.
Fourayes Farm Manager