It is hard to believe that two weeks ago, we were just coming out of almost two solid weeks of freezing temperatures. In fact, there were some of the coldest days that I could remember in Dallas with the temperatures reaching as low as 12 degrees. We also were hammered by an ice storm and an additional snow fall of almost 8 inches.
Texas weather can be mercurial, however, and our temperatures jumped into the 70's for most of the last 14 days. This dramatic change in the weather for an extended period of time has my fruit trees thoroughly convinced that it is Spring. My fruit trees and bushes are leafing out, and one of my pluots is in full blown bloom, as you can see from the photograph above.
This is a 4-in-1 pluot made up of grafts from four separate Zaiger pluots - Splash, Emerald Drop, Flavor Grenade, and Geo Pride. Because the grafts were done in what appears to be a haphazard fashion, this tree has one of the worst limb structures, possibly in the world. But the variety will make up for its homeliness.
I was really surprised by how fragrant these blooms are. I can be halfway across my yard from this tree, and with a light breeze, the yard is filled with a wonderfully light vanilla scent.
When I saw this pluot blooming, I was very concerned that its blossoms would not get pollinated because it is so early in the year. I really had not seen any bees out at all. And last year was a terrible Spring for bees, so I was worried that we might experience a similar dearth of bees this year as well. In fact, I actually ordered some mason bees to help ensure that I have adequate pollinators for my fruit trees and bushes.
It appears that my purchase of the mason bees was not wholly necessary, because when I went out into the yard this afternoon, the pluot was surrounded by a wonderful mass of pollinators. Butterflies and several kinds of bees. I really have never seen anything like it, and I am not exaggerating. There must have been 30 bees visiting the tree. There is not that much blooming out there right now, so maybe all of these pollinators were drawn to the pluot out of sheer necessity. Although I am not an expert on identifying bees, I believe there were honey bees, mason bees, and another type of very small bee which I had not seen before, working on the tree.
I've attached several photos from this afternoon that definitely confirm that Spring is here, or at the very least, near.
Our average last freeze date in Dallas is not for several more weeks, so I am very concerned about these early blooms. My biggest concern is that the blooms will freeze before they are pollinated. Alternatively, I want to look into what will happen if these blossoms are pollinated, start to fruit, and are then exposed to a freeze.