Results from 2021
Here in Utah in 2021, we had a hot dry summer. We directed most of our irrigation water to the orchard and garden. We water our orchard about once a month and our garden about twice a week with perforated PVC pipes. The results were good. We had lots of bug free apples, pears, peaches, and cherries. We had zero bird damage. We had only one or two apples with sun scald which compared favorably to last year when we had a hundred or more scalded apples in an uncovered apple tree. Maybe we got a little carried away with how many covers we deployed in our test orchard. Maybe not.
Our covered test orchard 2021
Honeycrisp Apples, dwarf root stock, 6 years old
Carmine Jewel Cherries, ~5 years old
Meteor Dwarf Cherry Tree, 8 years old. Picking Meteor cherries was fun. There were so many, we could not get them all at once. We would untie the cover, climb in, pick a bucket or two full and then duck out of the cover. We left the cover on between pickings to keep the fruit flies out. We had no maggots in the cherries this year.
The feral cats that come here hunting mice like lounging on the covers.
In spite of some hard frosts early in the spring, we had a very nice harvest of peaches with no bugs and no bird pecks, either.
The garden at its peak with the covered fruit trees surrounding it on three sides was pretty magical as well as very productive.