Protecting a flowering peach tree

mark_roeder(4B IA)March 27, 2008

Are there any measures that can be taken to protect peach trees that are flowering from the ravages of a late freeze?

Our local weather is shaping up well here. We still have some snow on the ground, although most of it is now melted. Snow on the ground in Iowa tends delays the warming of the air too rapidly, and this should make for a later spring, later flowering of peach trees, and less likelihood of a late freeze killing the blooms.

Are there any human interventions that encourage later flowering, and protect trees from a late freeze?

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Hmm. That's a tough one mark. Of course, the placement of a paper bag over small plants that have broken bud too early is an old trick. But I'm not sure what to do about an entire tree.
If this happens frequently, it just may be the wrong tree in the wrong spot. Perhaps it is planted in a south-facing location, adjacent to a wall, or something that creates a micro-climate that causes it to break bud too early?


    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 7:04AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mark, many things have been tried there. The best one is planting on a north slope which will be cooler and delay blossoming. Plant varieties with the latest blossoming (e.g. Indian Free - very late here). You can do like the orange growers do, constantly spray water on a cold night (the act of ice forming warms the plant). You can make some kind of temporary covering for the plant, a big cold frame kind of thing. Then pop it on when the cold threatens. The problem with all the protective measures is they are a lot of work. I have some nice covers I made for my figs which I could put over my apricot trees but its a hassle so I never do it. It got down to 24F earlier this week but it looks like my Tomcot apricot pulled through OK without any help from me.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 9:47AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I tried last year, if there is a lot of wind, good luck. I think your best bet is try to prolong blooming as late as possible. One thing ive been tossing around is creating a large snowpile over winter in a shaded area and then using that snow to throw on the root zone of the plant in the spring... Just a couple days of delay might make or break a season. I don't think we have to worry too much about this year. Mine still have a little snow by them, but its melting quickly.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:31AM
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