If peach blossom is the symbol of Lunar New Year (or Tet) in the north, in the southern region it is apricot blossom. As Tet is nearing, apricot farmers in Thu Duc district of Ho Chi Minh City are worried as their trees have already begun to flower early before the festival. 

Over his two decades of growing yellow apricot blossom, Phạm Văn Tư has never been this worried. Tet festival is half a month away but more than 200 apricot trees in his garden have already begun to flower. Some bonsai apricot trees are even in full bloom.

He said "The flowers bloomed even before the leaves changed. Just half of the flowers have blossomed, but if they continue, the trees will look bad and will not be in full bloom when Tet comes".

Hiep Binh Phuoc is widely known as the capital of yellow apricot blossom. Over recent years, rapid urbanisation has narrowed the tree planting areas. As many as 50 apricot blossom gardeners in the locality are on pins and needles as the fluctuating weather may hurt the Tet crop.

According to Le ThanhThao, Chairman of farmer union of Hiep Binh Phuoc ward, Thu Duc district, Ho Chi Minh City, the recent unseasonal downpours caused negative impacts on local apricot blossom trees.

"We have hosted training courses to provide the growers with ways to make the flowers bloom during Tet and how to take care of the trees after the festival," he said.

Weather forecasts said this year’s average temperature is rather stable at 30-32 degree Celsius but more unseasonable rains will occur by the end of the year.

Le Dinh Quyet, Deputy Head of the Southern meteorological station said rainfall of 30-40 mm, even in a short period of time, will affect the ornamental trees, including apricot blossoms.

"Gardeners should count on their experience to have appropriate measures so the flowers will be in the best conditions during Tet," he added.

Thủ Đức’s apricot blossoms are not only sold in Ho Chi Minh city but also very popular in other localities such as Hanoi, Dong Nai and Binh Dinh.

Flowers’ quality and market’s fluctuation will be affected by the unpredictable weather. Proactive measures are advised to ensure the best apricot blossoms for the festive season.-VNA