mystery of freeze damage
I thought I'd dodged a bullet when a freeze warning of possible 25 degrees was lifted and last night we didn't even get frost. The night before, according to my thermometer and the readings posted on-line at weather sites it never got below 28. But looking at my fruit all J. plums appear blackened and translucent and are brown inside. Now it looks like my peaches were destroyed as well as their flesh is translucent and the centers turned brown.
Here I thought it might be game over about a month ago when we got down to 23 or 24 when peaches were almost in full bloom, but there was no discoloration of developing fruit until yesterday, although I was a bit worried about slowness of sizing up. But there was no interior discoloration so I was hoping it was just a matter of the recent cool weather here retarding development.
Now I wonder if the 28 degrees did all the damage or if the fruit was already injured and so wasn't resistant to what would normally be a survivable level of cold. In the past I've had most of my stone fruit survive 27 degrees even though it was much more developed.
I will never understand how fruit trees actually work but I welcome any input that might help me try. Constant observation often creates more mystery than illumination.
I'm grateful that most of the orchards I manage are better located than mine, but it is as big a blow to lose my own crop (emotionally, though not financially). At least I don't have to worry about squirrels or thinning much. Now I will wait to see how pears and apples develop- and there's still some hope for E.plums. I'm pretty pessimistic at this point as it's been a very long time since a season began this poorly for me.