The blossoming of fruit trees in Cieza in the Murcia region is a visual spectacle that has become one of the area’s most important tourist attractions. The explosion of color can be seen across the countryside from mid-February to the middle of March. Images of the colorful blooms are already being shared on social media via the hashtag #cieza and #floraciondecieza. The natural process begins with the change of weather but this year’s late winter has delayed the fleeting bloom by a few days.
Peach, plum and nectarine trees bloom in Cieza every year. It occurs just days before the beginning of Spain but sometimes comes early or is delayed. This year, it’s expected to reach its peak on March 3, according to the Cieza Town Hall.
“To blossom the plants need a set time of cold, between 500 and 700 hours of 7°C temperatures. If the cold comes late to the area as has happened this year, the moment is likely to be delayed,” Mariano Sánchez, conservation expert at the Horticulture Department at the Botanic Garden of Madrid told Verne. “Bees are needed for pollination and if the trees do not bloom in time, it could be because the bees aren’t there,” he adds.
Too much cold can also “burn the fruit,” says Sánchez. Cieza Town Hall says the frosty conditions on February 25 and 26 have affected 20% of tree blooms. “Farm owners are not affected because they have insurance, but it has affected the workers who earn according to how much fruit they can pick. Also if there is less fruit arriving in the market, the price of the product will rise,” a representative from the Cieza Town Hall warned.
Tourism can also affect the crops but “only on specific plants,” says Sánchez. “If there are lots of people walking about the trees, the oxygen in the soil needed by the roots is lost.”
English version by Melissa Kitson.