POLSON - It’s that special time of year on the east shore of Flathead Lake when the cherry trees reach full bloom. A sign of spring and renewal and the tasty cherries that await us.
The bees are buzzing, and that’s good news for cherry lovers in Northwest Montana as buds begin to blossom.
“Definitely we want to be kind to the bees because we totally depend on them,” said Campbell Orchards owner Brian Campbell.
Campbell said two beehives per acre of cherries are needed for full pollination, rented from outfits in Polson and Arlee.
“Sometimes you’ll see some wild bees and bumblebees are really good pollinators but don’t see very many of them, definitely not enough to get the job done,” added Campbell.
Campbell said a deep freeze in April caused some damage to the flowers, which means this summer’s cherry crop will be a little smaller than normal.
“Last year if you look at a bud on a tree it would have as many as four sometimes even five flowers in them, last year was a huge bloom, and this year we’re hitting on two as an average, just two flowers per bud," said Campbell.
Campbell said trees should remain in full bloom through the end of the week — which is a sight to see on the shores of Flathead Lake.
“The full bloom depending on the temperatures will last three or four days probably I’m assuming if it’s just in the 50s and 60s, in the situation where it was really warm like 70s or 80 the bloom can be done in about two days,” added Campbell.
Campbell said with the late bloom, the harvest will be a little later this year but still starting in late July.
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