Life Life

26/01/2018 - 11:23

Caring for apricot blossoms to welcome Tet

Through the periods of cold rain, gardeners in Hue are now paying more attention than ever to care for the flowering apricot trees because this is the decisive moment to time the apricot bloom for Tet holiday.

 Ngo Van Tuan's apricot tree was offered up to VND 140 million by a customer

Huong Thuy is a locality where about 100 households are planting flowering apricot trees. At this moment, the gardeners are actively fertilizing and stripping leaves of the apricots. According to the apricot growers, besides technical care, the weather is the decisive factor for the bloom in time for the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year).

Mr. Ngo Van Tuan (aged 70, Van Duong village, Thuy Van Commune, Huong Thuy Town), who has been growing flowering apricot trees for more than 20 years, said that the caring process should be taken right after each Tet holiday.  The process is quite complex, which includes spraying pesticides, fungicides for the trees in cycles of four times per month. In summer, water should be provided for the trees, and clean water must be used to ensure that the trees do not shed leaves and bloom too early.

In recent years, many kinds of apricot trees have been shipped from the southern provinces, causing the Hue apricot trees market during Tet festival to shrink somewhat.

Mr. Nguyen Quang Anh (Hue City) said: "Hue people still prefer Hue apricot blossoms. Compared to other types of apricots such as hồng diệp (the apricot with pink new leaves), the Hue yellow apricot blossom lasts longer and maintains its color longer as well, which is preferred by buyers to celebrate Tet in their house. So this year, I go to apricot gardens to search for my favorite apricot tree."

Lunar New Year is also the time when gardeners are hired to take care of apricot trees. In the garden of more than 200 apricot trees of Mr. Ngo Van Tuan, there are many trees which their owners have asked Mr. Tuan for care of.

Mr. Tuan said: "Every Tet holiday, I earn about VND 100 million from the sale of apricot trees. Currently, many people have visited to enquire about apricot trees in the garden. One of my trees was offered VND 140 million, but I have not agreed to sell it yet. In addition to apricot trees from other provinces, Hue apricot market for Tet festival is also very exciting. There are apricot trees in Hue gardens priced at VND 100 million or more, even at half a billion VND. Hue apricot blossoms combine features such as having a beautifully designed shape and root system, having a main apex and a reasonable branch system, and having bigger lower branches along with smaller upper ones. Therefore, they are still the choice of many people.”

This year, in many apricot gardens, there are more flower buds compared to previous years. The gardeners must hire more workers to care for the trees and to hand-strip the apricots’ leaves.

This year, many of the gardeners pick leaves off apricot trees earlier than last year 

"At the end of the year, despite the cold rain, the weather was better than in previous years. Picking off apricot leaves is also carried out earlier, and more flower buds come out this year than last year. Apricot blossoms are almost completely dependent on the weather. So, if from December (Lunar calendar) the weather is fine, the gardeners may have more chance to get a bumper harvest," said Mr. Le Quy Phuc, who has nearly ten years working for apricot garden owners.

Besides the traditional gardeners planting apricot blossoms in Hue, flower and ornamental plants businesses are also busy choosing items to import and serve customers during Tet.

Ms. Le Thi Chu, owner of Mai Vien Garden on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in Hue City, said: "At this time, many people have started looking for gardens to buy apricot trees. They mainly choose Hue apricots. This year, we brought from Binh Dinh about 300 apricot trees to serve customers on Tet. Unlike Hue apricots, these are much cheaper. At only one million VND, you can buy an apricot tree for Tet decoration. There is still about a month to the Lunar New Year, and the price will depend on whether the bloom is well-timed or not. But from my experience, prices will be slightly higher than last year.”

“The apricot gardens today have mainly three main lines: trees with a tapering trunk, trees from 10-15 years old, and those under 10 years old. I am growing more than 200 apricot trees, so care must be taken immediately after Tet holiday. In the dry season, the trees must be treated for insects, pests and must be watered correctly, while during the rainy season, it must be treated for fungi. According to forecasts, the weather of this Lunar December will be favorable for apricot trees. It is difficult for apricots to bloom if the temperature is less than 20 degrees," said Mr. Tuan.

Story and photos: Le Tho