hard freeze predicted tomorrow night

alan haighMarch 25, 2012

The forecast indicated nothing cold until yesterday when suddenly it is predicted to get as low as 23 for at least a couple of hours early Tues morning. J Plums and apricots are in full bloom so I'm considering throwing some plastic sheeting over them without a frame- depending on state of forecast by noon Mon. I'll only bother with my favorite trees and I'm not looking forward to it- supposed to be very windy during the day but will calm down by the time cold strikes.

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franktank232(z5 WI)

I usually use old sheets or blankets... Its tough if its windy to get things to stay. Big trees are tough to protect.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:51AM
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johnthecook

I live on Cape Cod and only into my third year with planted apple trees so I wasn't expecting to many apples. But it bums me out that business will be affected. Maybe I'll try some tarps on my apple trees.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:54AM
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myk1(5 IL)

Have you ever tried a water mist?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:13AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Thanks for the heads-up Harvestman!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:10PM
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alan haigh

I suspect this freeze could wipe out a lot of peach growers throughout the region. All my peaches with showy blossoms are pretty much in open bloom. I may be trying to cover a couple of them as well. Glad I haven't pruned any of them yet.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:15PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Yeah, I'll be doing the two-step (one step out of the garage, and one step back in) with my containered blueberries.......they are already blossoming. The low is supposed to be 20 here tomorrow night.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:19PM
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applefan

NWS predicts a low of 28 and Wunderground predicts 19 but I'm hoping that the sunny Monday and the 1,000 foot difference between me and the valley below plus still air early on Tues. morning will gift me with a temperature inversion to save the plums. I can usually count on being 5 degrees higher as the colder air settles and displaces the warmed air below.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:47PM
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denninmi(8a)

They're saying 26 here tomorrow night. My personal little prayer is that a bank of clouds forms over Saginaw Bay and the southern end of Lake Huron and drifts down over the Detroit Metro. That scenario has saved my crop a number of times, keeping temps here 5 to 10 degrees warmer than further west without cloud cover. But of course, that is only an iffy possibility.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:53PM
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rweissman

Accuweather is predicting 30 degrees just north of NYC, which I could live with, but Weather.com is showing 26, which could be a problem.

I put lights in my Crimson Rocket peach (full bloom) and on my espalier pear (green cluster). Hopefully that will be enough. It worked well with the peach last year at lower temps, but it wasn't in full bloom then.

My Montmorency cherry, Scarlet Spire and one of my Honeycrisps aren't too far along and should hopefully be okay.

However, my other Honeycrisp is at half-inch green and parts of my espalier apple are at half-inch green/tight cluster (the Gravensteins are the farthest along). I could throw a sheet over the espalier easily enough if that would work. I'm out of lights for the other Honeycrisp though.

If I ran a portable heater underneath the Honeycrisp with an extension cord would that work?

Rob

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:30PM
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alan haigh

30 degrees won't hurt anything and 26 will only hurt your open blossoms.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:35PM
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alan haigh
    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:43PM
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dutchess12545

21F predicted here in northern Dutchess County NY for Monday night/ Tuesday morning. Only things in full bloom are Nanking Cherry and Cornus mas. Will probably cover both as both are fruiting for the first time for me and I'd like to at least sample.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:45PM
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rweissman

Thanks H-man. I've seen that chart and it is very helpful. I'm just concerned about what might happen if the weather people are off by a few degrees. Now everyone seems to be predicting 28 as the low, so if they're right I should have minimal, if any damage. I'm going to take some precautions anyway though, just in case. I'll use the lights in the peach and pear, which are the farthest along, and I think I'll throw a tarp or blanket over the espalier apple since the Gravensteins are now at early pink.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:11AM
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mrsg47(7)

Covering my trees with buds this afternoon! Thanks all. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:38AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Dutchess-

Have no idea how close you are located to this, but...

GFS MOS shows 23F at POUGHKEEPSIE, NY airport...
NAM MOS shows 21F

Pretty brutal temps, but if you don't have much in bloom, you should be ok.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:45AM
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alan haigh

Weather Underground offers some hope, their low for Carmel NY, just south of Dutchess is 27 which would wipe out open blooms but might spare unopened ones. Accuweather is sticking with 20 so far.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:53AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Newest NAM (12Z) run (just came out)...for hour 22...so tomorrow morning...

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:04AM
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mrsg47(7)

Frank! What a fabulous map, I just sent it to my husband who will also love it. There is hope for my buds with temps hovering around 27 degrees tonight. And no winter?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:14PM
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glib(5.5)

29 where I or Dennis live. We will be fine, but the poor folks of upstate New York will not see an apricot or peach this year.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:01PM
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denninmi(8a)

Glib, I hope you're right, but I'm still praying for a cloud mass, either off of Lake Huron or maybe the cloud deck that is over Wisconsin and IL now will move in faster than expected.

Apricots are actually dropping, peaches, nectarines, almonds, plums, and sweet cherries (those are a lost cause due to birds anyway) are in full bloom. Pears are at the point they are close to showing color, so should be OK. Apple buds are still very tight, so they should be OK into the mid 20s.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:48PM
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alan haigh

My bones tell me it's not going to get as cold as the map and forecasts suggest. I've never seen such a hard freeze follow a day with no real chill in the air.

If course my bones are far from infallible.

I've decided to just let freeze what freezes and move J. plums out of my whip nursery instead. They are already in leaf and I can buy bushels of fruit from the sail of a single tree.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 3:00PM
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myk1(5 IL)

"maybe the cloud deck that is over Wisconsin and IL now will move in faster than expected."

Hey, you go get your own blanket, this one is mine :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 3:54PM
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dutchess12545

already 38 F at 6PM in Millbrook .....about 15M NE of Poughkeepsie.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 6:12PM
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denninmi(8a)

I hope you do ok Harvestman, in fact, I hope everyone survives with minimal damage. Probably won't, but I can hope.

Be forewarned, though, Harvestman, the airmass moving into NY State is probably coming from the Great Lakes. My high today, despite bright sunshine all day, was 42. Right now, it's 40. That doesn't give much leeway.

My only glimmer of hope, there are some high Cirrus moving in from the West. The NWS says the cloud deck won't get here in time. I can hope they're wrong, they've been wrong before.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 6:18PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

MY neighbors are helping cover my peach trees with spare moving pads and blankets. It pays to give fruit to your neighbors. They are in full bloom and our temps in NE Ohio are suppose to be down to 27.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 6:40PM
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johnthecook

Most of my apples are at silver tip. Only my espalier Gravenstein is at green so I covered them. I hope that saves them. And hopefully my silver tip apples survive on Cape Cod.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:33PM
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ribs1

I am in southeast Michigan near Detroit. Supposed to get down to 24 tonight.
Most of my apple trees are 3 years old and probably won't bear fruit until next year or later anyway. What I am worried about is could this freeze actually kill my trees?
I also have 2 year old paw paws.

Thanks

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 8:25PM
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windfall_rob(vt4)

Thanks for posting the freeze damage link Harvestman, I have been looking for just that info.

27 right now supposed to drop to 12, but unless this wind dies I don't see it getting quite that low.

Still, almost everything is at green tip and beyond except a few late apples. It is looking pretty grim, but given that it's just the end of march we have kind of been expecting this...there should still be a foot of snow on the ground and 2 weeks of sugaring season left.

Anybody know the numbers for blueberry damage at bud break?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 8:34PM
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rweissman

The predictions have gone from 28 to 29 for around 5:00 a.m., so things are looking up. I made a blanket tent for my espalier apples and put lights on my pear espalier and peach,so I think I should skate by. I have to say, the lights look nice on the trees at night. Kind of festive. :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:47PM
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alan haigh

I couldn't get my indoor-outdoor thermometer to work properly so I just put it outside and got a reading of 26 right off the ground on the northside of my house at 5 A.M. but right now the flower buds even on the apricots look alright. We'll see when the sun hits them, but at least my bones have been vindicated this time- I think it was at least 6 degrees warmer than most forecasts.

If it was 26 a couple inches off the ground it was probably 28 where the upper branches are.

At the very least, I doubt this freeze will do anything more than providing some thinning of my peaches- even if I do wind up losing J. plums and apricots.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 6:40AM
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windfall_rob(vt4)

well, I guess your bones are pretty good. 18 here instead of 12. Now if we can dodge the next month of freeze/frost that would be great.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:11AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Looks like Michigan (most parts) escaped with only minor damage...mostly seeing upper 20Fs... clouds and wind moved in at the right time.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:55AM
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thepodpiper

Detroit area low for me was 30. I'm very happy.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:05AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

It was 31 here in Columbia, MD. No damage whatsoever that I can see.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:24AM
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rweissman

It actually dropped from 29 at about 5 a.m. to 27 at 7:00. At first glance it looks like some damage to my open peach blossoms, but the ones near the lights look okay. I couldn't reach the upper branches with the lights, and that's where the petals seem to have dropped off. Not sure if there is damge to the pistils because I can't see up that high. I guess I'll find out in a few weeks.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:25AM
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glib(5.5)

I put my outside thermometer under my tomato tent outside (about 1000 lbs of water in containers, 50 toms, under a well sealed plastic tent, with a compost trash can for CO2) and it went down to 52F in there. The brick patio was not frosted, just the grass. I think the whole SE MI will be fine.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:27AM
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denninmi(8a)

The weather station closest to me on Weather Underground bottomed out at 29.4 around 2:30 in the morning, and climbed up to about 30.0 by 5:00. We DID have a cloud deck, albeit not a very thick one, move over at just the crucial time, between 2:00 and about 5:00. It was the tip of the cloud mass extending from the system over WI/MN/UP of Michigan. Saved again.

I went out this morning for a quick walk around. Open Magnolias are toast, no big surprise there. Every fruit blossom I checked wasn't even frozen. I think most will be OK. I didn't look at sweet cherries, they seem about the most sensitive to me, but peaches, nectarines, and plums were fine, and pear buds seemed totally unfazed.

Now, we only have to get through the next roughly 5-6-7 weeks without a major killing freeze. I've seen it drop to 21 degrees at my house on Mother's Day weekend, and that year, the Apricots were in full bloom at that time. Weird weather.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

My heart goes out to all of you. I went through this the first week in February with my summer apples and go through it every year with my citrus. My citrus is close enough to the house to power them up but the apple trees were not. I lost about 90% of this years crop when it went to 25F with Anna and Golden Dorsett in full bloom.
If you can get lights out to your smaller trees then light and plastic will give you the best protection. The problem is though the wind and plastic sails.

You might be able to select limbs to protect instead of the whole tree. maybe those large bags to put leaves in.

They do make tree bags for smaller trees if you can find them.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:30AM
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ganggreen

Sounds like most of you are luckier than I am. We hit 20 this morning and driving to work I recorded 16. Many/most of my trees were at 1/2" green and I suspect that most of the blossoms have been killed but I'm not sure. My orchard is in full sun and the morning sun oftentimes chases the cold away quickly but I think it's still around freezing at noontime. I guess I'll know soon enough what sort of damage was done but I'm not very hopeful.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:16PM
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stac5455

Our temps went down to 22 this morning. My peaches, pears and cherries were all in full bloom. I covered my peaches with lights and blankets. The sun is up and I'm not sure if i see any damage yet. I'm sure I will find out soon. We have another cold night I believe on thursday. So I'm leaving the light strung in the tree till this passes.
Stacy

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 12:47PM
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molex

Here in Brooklyn, we went down to 27F in the backyard, lost about 40% of flowers on some (3) jewel blueberries, otherwise seem to have escaped unharmed.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:19PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I'll have to ask my family in Ohio what happened. Looks like temps in the Akron area only fell to the mid/upper 20s, which is about 5 degrees warmer than forecast, but I do know some of the NE Ohio commercial growers have peaches in bloom. We'll see how they fared.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:34PM
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alan haigh

I'm really unsure of the extent of my damage. I checked my apricots and there seemed to be some tiny fruit that was still solid and normal looking. I could open it up but I might as well wait. The plum blossoms and all open peach blossoms were frozen solid in the morning but look normal now. I might as well just wait and see what everything does but I really think my unopen flowers will be fine.

Just about 20 miles south of me in Westchester County, NY, there seemed to me no damage and no frozen blossoms at all, even though I arrived at a site there before sun had hit them. And this was a site at the base of a hollow.

What pisses me off is I was grafting in Greenwich today and even though they are a zone warmer than me there trees are at exactly the same state of development- what's wrong with my site!

The best news is that most of my customers seem to have gotten off scott free.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

here is a picture of a freeze damaged bloom from Febuary this year. Anna apple. I think it took a day for it to brown up so the first day the extent of the damage was hard to see.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

That is what I heard as well -- in a day all the damage will be obvious, but before then it may be hard to notice.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:33PM
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mamuang_gw

Hi,

I could not cover my peach trees yesterday (the only trees the have some flowers in bloom). The wind gust was so strong all day into the night. I went out to try it again at 9 pm. The wind did not die down one bit. I could not put plastic blankets on even with tie-down.(it looked like the wind could have taken the blankets and my small trees with it).

I saw some damages this morning. The peach blooms were doomed. I think I have to wait a day or two to see the extent of the damages. Other fruit trees are in green tip and/or tight cluster stages.

All the magnolia trees in the neighborhood were in full bloom and now all look like the picture Randy posted above!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:51PM
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lindsgarden

Here in Montgomery County it was down to at least 25 early this morning. I don't have much blooming, but it definitely damaged asparagus that was coming up and the peas looked like they did not appreciate the freeze either.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:52PM
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alan haigh

OK, I'll see what tomorrow brings. There's still going to be another month and a half where anything can happen anyway. 2 years ago I was hit in mid May with a frost that caused significant damage to already developing stone fruit.

I actually didn't realize the extent of the damage until many of my peaches just stopped growing almost a month later. They were the size of almonds when they froze but got to be golf ball size and then stayed there until they started rotting when undamaged fruit was ripening. When I asked the Cornell rep about it he had no clue and suggested the fruit had stopped growing because of hot weather- as if peaches couldn't take a few days slightly into the 100's. Funny how the only other site I manage that suffered similar injury was in a low, cold location.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Frost is on everybody's mind when growing fruit & veggie in the northern hemisphere.
That includes me of course, heaving trees/dens bush around the orchard was
my main goal when starting a orchard over 20 years ago. I grew tons of trees from seeds, mostly spruce...slowly it's starting to make a difference, heaving a buffer zone from the cold creeping in early morning.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:25PM
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