upcoming freeze and blooming fruit trees

abciximab(7b/8)March 23, 2013

With a day or two close to 80 degrees and warmer temperatues in early March, I knew we might have some trouble. A lot of our plums, apriums, pluots and a few peaches and nectarines have started blooming. Some are in full bloom but no leaves yet. With this crazy weather, we are supposed to get down to 30-32 degrees nightly on Sunday,Monday, and Tuesday. What kind of effects should I expect from these temperatures? Is there any recommended protection? We have about 25 fruit trees blooming and some are pretty big. It's a very disappointing weather forecast!


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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


30F won't hurt a thing. Damage starts at about 28F, see link below. They are predicting 25F here but I expect lower. Amarillo is forecast in the teens all three nights. Everything is blooming there and here.

The only thing I've saved fruit with is a tarp and heat source underneath.

This is why I now grow in a greenhouse. But I also have outdoor fruit and several friends as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: illustrated spring frost thresholds

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 7:16PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Yeah..i don't begin to worry until temps drop below 28F...Even mid 20Fs and a lot of buds will survive... Anything below 25F for a few hours is probably bad for most fruit trees...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Great information! Thanks! So there is hope of having some fruit.

I guess the same goes for frost damage? Two of the 3 nights are supposed to be windy and cloudy. The third night will be clear and calm. I'm sure there will be a heavy frost Tuesday night.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 9:19PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Clouds are the best thing possible to hold the temperature up. Clear and no wind is when the worst freezes typically happen. But frost doesn't matter. It's all about temperature which is pretty hard to accurately measure in an orchard setting.

After bloom damage starts at about 28 and gets severe at about 24F.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 9:45PM
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Thanks for posting that link. Great information.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:19AM
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The forecast keeps getting worse. The next three nights are supposed to be 29, 29, 30 degrees. I hope it doesn't drop any further! Monday and Tuesday night is predicted to be calm and clear. It looks like I still have a degree or two to play with.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:55AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


The front blew through here last night and we hit 25F instead of the 30F predicted. I covered a few things but one heater malfunctioned.

Maybe your forecast will prove better than ours. I hope so!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:08AM
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We had similar weather last year, disaster. There was quite literally 'no fruit' last year.
Locally, no apples anywhere, plums, apricots, nectarines and peaches were a no show. The only stuff I had was black currants and a few BBs..
I just hope for your sake it doesn't happen to you.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 5:36PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

We had a total freeze out of unprotected apricots at 25F last night. These were past shuck split. I think I saved one small tree with a tarp and heat lamp. It will probably be even colder tonight so I'll be setting up again soon.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Oh Fruitnut, I am soooo sorry. Big ouch! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Sorry to hear that Fruitnut!

I got up at 5:00 AM this morning to check the temperature. One of my thermometers showed 27 degrees, the other 29 degrees. I hope the 27 degrees was a bad reading. I guess we'll know soon?

One night down, two to go.

Fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 1:46PM
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