In October, the Lamara farming team’s attention turns to the small fruits forming on the lemon, olive and pomegranate trees. It is the time for fruit setting, the process by which flowers become fruits. Fruit can fail to set (also called fruit dropping) for various general but also fruit-specific reasons. Dropping fruit can result from improper watering or fertilisation, excessive pruning, and insect infestation. Good nutritional practices and optimal soil pH levels will contribute to an ideal fruit setting environment. During this time, incorrect irrigation methods can do more harm than good by causing fruit to abort instead of growing.
For lemon and olive trees, the first drop occurs when 70 to 80 percent of the flowers fall from the tree without ever setting fruit, which is normal. A week or so later, pea-sized fruit from lemon trees will begin to drop from the tree. The third drop occurs towards the end of late Spring when the fruit is about the size of a golf ball for lemons or pea size for olives. This is also normal and the residual fruit grows into mature lemons. Olive trees bear fruit in branches that were formed during the previous year. Shoot growth as well as fruit development are cyclical phenomena in the olive tree and both processes are repeated annually. However, while shoot growth is completed within the same year, the processes that lead to fructification requires two consecutive seasons.
Lamara is holding breath and looking forward to see how the flowers will become fruit this year.