Do Apple Trees Bloom or Leaf First?

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Apple trees go through a specific cycle every year. Even when it looks like nothing is going on, the tree is preparing itself for the next year's harvest.

Apple blossom time begins in late spring.
Apple blossom time begins in late spring.

Budding

The life cycle of the apple tree begins in the summer. Small buds form on the tree's branches. These buds are not a part of the apples for the harvest season that year.

Blossoms emerge in spring from buds formed the previous summer.
Blossoms emerge in spring from buds formed the previous summer.

Dormant Season

During fall, the buds grow a fuzzy covering. This coating protects them through the winter dormant season.

Dormant apple tree in winter with a few remaining fruit.
Dormant apple tree in winter with a few remaining fruit.

Spring Leafing

In the spring, buds shed the protective coating and develop into bunches of leaves. At the center of each cluster of leaves a small flower bud forms.

Apple leaves in the spring.
Apple leaves in the spring.

Blossoms and Fruit

The flower bud grows and blossoms in late spring. Once the blossoms are pollinated, they develop into apples.

A branch of a blossoming apple tree.
A branch of a blossoming apple tree.

Harvest

The apples mature and are ready for harvest in late summer to fall. By this time, buds for the next spring have already begun to grow on the branches and the cycle begins again.

Apples ready for harvest.
Apples ready for harvest.

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