Damage to fruit buds (peach) in PA

olpea(zone 6 KS)March 2, 2014

Michael357 sent me this link. It's an assessment of bud kill in PA this winter for peaches.

They mention damage to flower buds is extensive at -10F, which is my experience.

Also mentioned Loring had 22% bud kill this winter while Redhaven, Saturn, and White Lady all had higher bud kill.

This was surprising to me. I've always read Loring, it's descendants, and it's sports are some of the most winter tender Midwestern peaches. Evidently that isn't necessarily so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grab Some Buds

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Depends the stage the buds are in when the low temperatures arrive.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:53PM
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Thanks for posting this. It is encouraging that they claim 25% to 30% bud mortality is still 3 to 6 times the amount necessary for a full crop. We got down to -10 or -12. I'd be happy if 20% survived, but I'm only looking for a handful from each tree.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 8:01PM
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I guess you can call that a pre-thinning.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 8:18PM
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alan haigh

Not enough thinning, but maybe helpful. I can't remember a season now where it got cold to the point of excessive thinning and inadequate crop here. One year it got cold enough to knock out the crop entirely- about -22 F that year. When it used to get to around -15 I didn't even notice a reduction in thinning work.

Maybe the caution about Loring concerns spring frost. That is where I've noticed a significant advantage of some varieties over others. Madison seems to have an advantage of a very wide bloom period, for example.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:35AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


I've got -21F right now... I'll be sure to report back if there is any peach, apricot or sweet cherry crop. Not the coldest reading this year, but the 3rd time i've been below -20F (coldest was -23F a few weeks back).

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:30AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Texas best peach growing area, the hill country around Fredericksburg, was 85F Saturday and 18F this morning. We're 22F right now and my outside apricots are past bloom. Well the ones that bloomed. Robada and Orangered didn't have a single blossom due to lack of chilling and it was a cold winter.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:53AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Maybe the caution about Loring concerns spring frost. That is where I've noticed a significant advantage of some varieties over others. Madison seems to have an advantage of a very wide bloom period, for example."


I agree some peaches set more bloom in a marginal spring. I've experienced this twice here with marginal springs. In both cases Redskin (and one other peach I can't recall right now) set full crops, while other peach varieties set thin crops. Fruitnut has mentioned Surecrop also performs better in frost-prone areas.

I've always read the concern with Loring is that fruit buds are winter tender (as distinguished from frost tender) compared to other peach varieties. I've read the same with its sports like Early Loring and Johnboy, as well as relatives like Topaz.

I know you have experience with Johnboy. I've only fruited Johnboy and Topaz a couple years, so I don't have any reliable personal observations to contribute.

The link below, warns Loring (and for some reason Mutsu apple - Surprised an apple classified as winter tender.) are winter tender in Ontario.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weather Risks: Strategies to Mitigate the Risk of Winter Injury

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:10AM
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alan haigh

Anyway, I've never had a particular problem here with Loring or Johnboy bud hardiness although, like you, I've often read the warnings, including in the ACN catalog.

Never had a winter where Reliance subsequently bore when others failed either. Spring frosts seem to sometimes punish the early bloomers and sometimes the late bloomers so I suspect what you want is a longer bloom period for that.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:07AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

My little orchard is still growing its framework, but tonight's low is supposed to hit 14 after buds are starting to push out.

Are the teens OK for buds, then? I'm sorry for such a basic question, but I haven't done my bud research. I have Redskin, Elberta and Reliance as far as peaches go.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:08PM
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I don't have enough practical experience to know one way or another, but this site might be of some help:


Here is a link that might be useful: Fruit Bud Hardiness

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:19PM
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While on this topic, has anyone used FreezePruf (made by Liquid Fence) on fruit tree buds/blossoms? The temp went up to 42 two weeks ago so I sprayed a few branches here and there with it and marked the branches. It is supposed to boost hardiness by 2 to 9 degrees. Just wondering if anyone has had any luck with it.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:45PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"While on this topic, has anyone used FreezePruf (made by Liquid Fence) on fruit tree buds/blossoms?"

I've not used FreezePruf, but have tried another product for which the manufacturer makes similar claims. The other product didn't work for me.

Chris Doll, a retired fruit specialist from IL, has written he has tried 3 such products in his commercial orchard with no success.

Some copper compounds do prevent frost damage to blooms, but there is a key difference in the claims. The copper compounds kill ice nucleating bacteria. The bacteria make the blooms more frost tender. In other words, the ice nucleating bacteria cause death of the blooms at freezing temperatures which are higher than the blooms normally endure without damage. By killing the bacteria, the blooms return to the normal frost hardiness expected. Killing the bacteria does not lower the freezing point for normal blooms.

For example, if a bloom can normally take 27F before it freezes and dies, spraying copper will not improve survival at 27F. Copper will only prevent ice nucleating bacteria from killing the bloom at, say, 29F. Copper won't provide protection below 27F.

The claim by FreezePruf, is that it improves cold tolerance by 2 to 9 degrees F more than is normal for the plant tissues.

Some people swear by some of these products like FreezePruf. I'm dubious of the claims. Supposedly the products enter through the cuticle and translocate locally via systemic action. Part of the problem with that explanation is that typically the products are sprayed at fairly cool/cold temperatures when metabolic processes of the plant are shut down.

Until I see peer reviewed research of the benefits of these type products, I wont' be buying any more of them.

Testimonials, even from people you know, can be erroneous. As an FYI for the thread, allow me to share an example from my own life (I could offer more than one.)

Many years ago, there was a teflon based oil additive, which claimed a one-time treatment to your engine would coat the inside of the engine with teflon (for the life of the engine) thereby offering all kinds of benefits of reduced friction (longer engine life, better fuel economy, more horsepower, increased idle speed, etc.).

At the time, there were stories floating around that the manufacturer had tested this product in a brand new Caterpillar bull dozer against an untreated Cat bull dozer. They ran one of the dozers with the oil additive, the other with just regular oil. They drained the oil of both dozers, then started them up. Supposedly, after a few minutes, the motor on the untreated dozer seized up, but the treated one ran two hours with no engine oil (and no engine damage) before they finally gave up and shut it off.

I had a couple friends recommend the product to me. They had tried it and claimed the treatment helped their fuel economy considerably. They knew other people who used it and claimed benefits as well.

I decided to try it in a relatively new pickup I owned. At the time, I kept detailed records of the fuel economy. I had a job which required me to travel a lot on the roads. I used the oil additive according to directions, but saw no difference in idle speed of the engine or fuel economy after the treatment. It was a well thought out and well marketed scam.

Why all the positive testimonials about this product when it was a sham? Part of the explanation was the cost of the treatment. It was very expensive ($50/quart at the time). There is a phenomenon called the placebo effect. The more expensive or inconvenient a placebo is to use, the more likely the user will attribute the touted benefits to the placebo. It is so drilled in our heads (and experienced in reality so often) "You get what you pay for", that an expensive placebo must really work. We create, or skew data to make it fit our expectations.

Another way the company was able to "sell" their sham was that they seemed to have plausible explanations of how the product worked. Everyone knows teflon coated pans are "non-stick". It was simply the same principle extended to the inside of an engine. It sounded reasonable.

I discussed this very example with my daughter not long ago. She's had a lot more college chemistry than I did. She pointed out to me that teflon coating is a fairly difficult process involving various chemical reactions and heat, none which could possibly occur inside an engine coated with motor oil. Simply putting teflon in an additive won't cause it to adhere to the internal engine surfaces (teflon by nature is pretty anti-stick).

Below is a link explaining the deception of this product. At the time I tried the product, it was before the information age. We didn't have the benefit of the internet. I just knew the product didn't work for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slick 50

This post was edited by olpea on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 19:10

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:37AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I think the recent cold snap is more damaging that the ones in January & early Feb.

I'd imagine here there might be some moderate bud loss - although most of this area didn't get much below zero, the 60s temps 10 days ago might have caused just enough bud swell to reduce their hardiness, then the night before last, it was 4F at BWI airport, but a degree or two below zero to the west and north of here.

Lack of chilling is a non-issue here even in a mild winter.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:59PM
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alan haigh

Placebos work great for humans, not so much for machines, but if folks are convinced something is working when it isn't, I guess they get their money's worth.

For people, placebos apparently can work even when they know it's a placebo, which is amazing. Even when the conscious mind knows the pill is sugar the subconscious mind is fooled by the ritual of swallowing a pill according to some recent studies, at least for enough people to make a significant statistical impact.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:29PM
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