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Flathead Lake cherry trees reach full bloom

Cherry Tree Bee
Posted at 9:10 AM, May 09, 2023

FINLEY POINT - The unofficial sign of spring is finally here as the cherry trees on the east shore of Flathead Lake reach full bloom.

“Every flower has to be touched by a bee or some pollinating insect,” said Campbell Orchards Owner Brian Campbell.

Without bees, there would be no Flathead Lake cherries come summer.

“The sunshine today is starting to feel better so the bees can get back to work,” added Campbell.

Campbell says two beehives per orchard are needed for full pollination, rented from outfits in Polson and Arlee.

Those bees were busy pollinating crops in different states before heading home to Montana.

“So, California was running late, and Washington was running late, so the bees just got here in the nick of time because we were going to be late and then all of a sudden, we’re early so luckily we got some bees back here in time.”

Campbell says record-breaking heat in the first week of May led to an earlier-than-anticipated bloom.

“We went from buds that were just starting to open to almost full bloom within six days, five or six days, it really pushed things fast, I’ve never seen anything quite that fast,” added Campbell.

With cooler weather this past weekend, Campbell says orchards should remain in bloom throughout the week.

“Oh we gained at least a week to ten days so now our timing for the crop will be back to normal, which is late July," said Campbell.