The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cicada-induced blooming

Apple flower bud

Remember how last year's periodic cicadas laid their eggs in all my young fruit tree branches and wrought havoc?  It turns out even the damage had a silver lining.

Train apple treeI've read that some orchardists get sick of waiting for their apples to bear, so they very carefully and partially girdle twigs to tempt the tree to produce flower buds.  Despite my impatience to taste our first homegrown apple, I haven't really been tempted to give such a dicey technique the time of day.  But our cicadas seem to have done the job for me.

While I was out pruning and training our young apple trees, I noticed that the cicada-damaged twigs seemed to be full of flower buds, while the undamaged twigs weren't.  Perhaps cicadas in 2012 will mean apples in 2013?  I'm not holding my breath, but it's an interesting coincidence if those plump buds do open into flowers.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Every couple of years in the fall I knock on my fruit tress with a 2 x4. It assures me of bloosms in spring. Many of my friends thought I was crazy until they tried it. Their fruit trees filled up with bloosms and then fruit.
Comment by mona Mon Feb 18 08:54:40 2013

Bad cicadas in my area around 2003?? Apple tree damaged never recovered

Comment by jim Tue Feb 19 00:22:04 2013

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