what can I plant in a frost prone bottom?

cousinfloydMarch 25, 2013

Burnt Ridge in its catalog has a list of plants for sites prone to late spring frosts. I'm wondering what you all think of their list. What would you be willing to plant in a frost prone bottom? Things I'm interested in planting more of (some of which I already have started in pots) include: pawpaws, Asian persimmons, pomegranates, che fruit, fuzzy kiwis, cornelian dogwood (cornus mas), mulberries, jujubes, and northern highbush blueberries. Of those Burnt Ridge includes persimmons, some blueberries, cornelian dogwood, mulberry, and jujube on its list. I'm skeptical of the idea that a frost prone bottom wouldn't be bad for persimmons or mulberries. Blueberries, on the other hand, seem pretty believable. I don't have enough experience with jujubes or any experience with cornelian dogwood to judge. What do you all think?

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I think fuzzy kiwi a bad candidate. They leaf out early and are frost tender. The latest thing I have leafing out is Eureka persimmon. It's a couple weeks after jujube and in the same area as pecan. Pecan likes those bottomland soils.

Blueberries have a wide range in bloom and leafing dates. And you need to match cultivar with your chill units. The northern highbush need way more chilling and leaf much later than most southern HB.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:34PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I'm surprised blackberries aren't on the list. They bloom late. Probably late enough to avoid frost on all but the very worst sites.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 9:34PM
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We have several highbush blueberry shrubs, Patriot and Bluecrop, and these shrubs have considerable resistance to springtime frost damage. We have had nighttime lows of 28 F, and the flowers have survived and set fruit. Our blueberries have done well in conditions that ruined cherry and apple crops. Keep in mind that I am in Wisconsin, and our blueberry shrubs are northern highbush cultivars, capable of surviving winter weather.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:33AM
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To my knowledge blueberries should be fine. I dont think you have too much to worry about the cornellian dogwood.

I would worry about Kiwi. Even the hardy types (kolkomitka/arguta) flower early, and are supposedly prone to loosing flowers in spring frosts.

Blackberries escape the early frosts even up here in N Ontario. Although, mine are somewhat protected, not in an open area.

For Pawpaw - I dont recall reading if they are prone to frost. They are native all the way up to S ontario, so one would assume the flower buds can take SOME frost. They dont have too much data on then regarding orchard settings though.

I cant speak for the rest. I do have to ask floyd, if the "frost prone area" is an area that is slow to warm up in spring via shade. This should help slow down the "wake up" of the plants, helping negate frost damage correct?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:03AM
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I have most of those planted in a low bottom and my persimmons took a major hit last spring on a minor freeze into the mid 20s.. They may be late to break bud but after they do the take more damage and don't recover as well. The hardy kiwi and mulberry, che, pomegranates, lost all foilage, but leafed out again fine. I was suprised I lost a jujube to ground below the graft, others just lost foliage leafed back out but the lost jujube really surprised me. Blueberries lost the crop but no major plant damage, and the same for most everything else, crop lost, but plants recovered.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:45AM
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john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)

I don't know abought all pawpaws but mine show burn back in frost.They still come out it just takes longer.My pawpaws have never fruited so i don't know if it hurts fruit.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:00AM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

My experience in an area with a lot of issues with late frosts:

Paw Paw: New growth, flowers sensitive but flowering is spread out enough that at least some buds usually survive.

Asian persimmon: New growth very sensitive

Che: new growth sensitive, breaks dormancy late

Mulberry (Illinois everbearing): Sensitive but puts out new growth and fruits anyway

Northern Highbush blues: Hardy except to the most severe late freeze. Only once in the last 15 years did I have total crop failure in blues (due to an early May deep freeze).

Cornelian cherry: Total polar bear

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:20AM
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It's now late March and my Cornelian Cherries are finishing up their bloom. So I think the tree handles cold and the leaves handle frosts because they haven't even emerged yet but I worry about the blooms since they come out so early. Maybe it doesn't bother them and maybe other varieties bloom later. Mine are a mix of fruiting cultivars and ornamentals developed for blooms (though they also fruit). Mine are all young and have never set fruit.

My fuzzy and hardy kiwis get bit by frosts, but it doesn't seem to bother flowers because only the leaves are emerging at this time. The plants are so vigorous that late freezes only bother it for a short while. By summer they're growing so much you'd never know they had a problem earlier.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Thanks everyone for the pointers. Cornelian dogwood and blueberries are sounding like my best bets. I probably should have known better than to even consider fuzzy kiwis or Asian persimmons. The report on the jujube killed to below the graft, strudel, is disappointing but helpful. I have one jujube in about my lowest spot already, so I'll see how it does. I did consider blackberries, and I think they would make sense from a frost prone bottom perspective, but in my particular situation I think I just want trees and/or vines in my bottom. I have muscadines in the bottom already, and they seem to do well, by the way. My rabbiteye blueberries were probably a little sparse from the very late and extremely hard freezes last year, but all in all they came through great. My figs, surprisingly, seemed unaffected. The pawpaws leafed out and completely froze out twice, but they leafed out a third time. The jujubes seemed fine. If it hadn't been for the fireblight my Asian pears would have had a fair year.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:09PM
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I am thinking....
American Persimmon
Perhaps a northern Mulberry - like Illinois Everbearing... Def not a warm loving Mulberry like any nigra or Pakistan... A late freeze = no fruit or even winter kill....

Maybe an European plum... My Italian is still snoring away... Unfortunately - it hates our hot summers... It's actually back down the hill now and grows in the shade..

Another one... Maybe an Apple or pear of some sort... My Prunus are all flowering here... but my Apples and pears are still snoring away too....


    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:35PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

My allotment is on an E/W slope (low at the E end) with a very tall row of buildings at the Eastern end. Consequently frost (if there is any) lingers at the bottom of the slope far into the day in winter and spring. I grow blackcurrants, gooseberries, red currants, rhubarb and raspberries in that area. There is also a huge old Bramley apple there.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 6:34AM
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Fruitnut is right about the range of time in bloom on Northern Blue berries. Patriot for example is very cold hardy but blooms well before some of our other cultivars.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 8:35AM
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