Tree Fruit Newsletter — June 17, 2024

In this newsletter:

  • Return Bloom Sprays
  • Summer Tour Announcement

Return Bloom Sprays

Some orchard blocks may have a higher than normal crop load which can inhibit the formation of flower buds. Fruit trees form next year’s flower buds in the summer beforehand. With a heavy crop, the fruits exude a hormone from their seeds that will move to terminal and spur buds, sending them the signal to not form flower buds. Summer sprays of NAA or ethephon can counteract this signal and lead to better return bloom. Return Bloom Enhancement | New England Tree Fruit Management Guide (

In summer, four sequential NAA sprays applied every other week can increase the amount of return bloom in some biennial bearing varieties such as Honeycrisp. These can begin six weeks after petal fall which is next week at Highmoor Farm. Ethephon also works but is more likely to cause premature ripening in summer apples. Please, use caution with the heat wave that is predicted for this week. High temperatures can increase the activity of these hormone sprays and lead to undesirable side effects. I am suggesting a postponement until the heat wave has passed.

Summer Tour at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm

July 24, 2024 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, followed by a vegetable and small fruit twilight meeting at 6 pm.

The Maine Ag. Experiment Station, UMaine Extension and the Maine State Pomological Society will be hosting the annual Summer Tour at the Highmoor Farm (Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm) in Monmouth.

To RSVP, call Renae Moran at (207) 713-7083 (or email at by July 20. Cost to attend the Summer Tour is free for Pomological Society members and $20 for all other attendees.


1:00 p.m. — Welcome and Registration

1:15 p.m. — Hannah Carter, Dean of Extension, UMaine

1:30 p.m. — UMaine Ag. Exp. Station Director, George Criner

1:45 p.m. — Guest speaker, Dr. Maria Gannett, Univ. of Mass, New Research in Managing Difficult Weeds in Perennial Crops

2:30 p.m. — Pomological Society Announcements from Standing Committees

    • Treasurer’s and Secretary’s reports
    • Labor
    • Legislative update
    • Marketing

3:15 p.m. — Break

3:30 p.m. — Orchard Tour with Renae Moran, Maria Gannett and Greg Koller.

    • New scab resistant apple varieties, tests for predicting bitter pit in Honeycrisp and cold hardy peach varieties.
    • Strategies for dealing with tough weed problems
    • Drone spraying demo

5:00 p.m. — Dinner

Sandwiches and salads. Dessert will be Highmoor farm strawberry shortcake.

6:00 p.m. — Twilight meeting with David Handley, Mark Hutton, Peyton Ginakes



From the North:

I95 Exit 109b, go West on Rte. 202 (toward Winthrop) for 16 miles. Highmoor Farm is on the left.


From the South:

I95 exit 86, left on Rte. 9 and continue 0.7 miles, then take a right onto Pleasant Hill Road for 0.8 miles. Continue through the stoplight where the road becomes Rte. 132 (Wales Rd. and then Pond Rd.) for 4.6 miles. Take left onto Leeds Junction Road, travel 2.9 miles to Rte. 202. Take a right onto Rte. 202 and go 1.4 miles. Highmoor Farm will be on the right.


Renae Moran
UMaine Cooperative Extension Tree Fruits Program
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
PO Box 179
Monmouth, ME 04259
(207) 933-2100

Mention of a trademark, proprietary product, or vendor does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product, nor does it imply approval or disapproval to the exclusion of other products or vendors that may also be suitable.

In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University of Maine System does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, familial status, ancestry, age, disability physical or mental, genetic information, or veterans or military status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities.  The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 5713 Chadbourne Hall, Room 412, University of Maine, Orono, ME  04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).