Freeze protection 2014

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXApril 20, 2014

You probably saw earlier thread about 23F freeze 4-14-14. It didn't take a whole lot to avert the damage. The apricot still green was covered with two layers light blankets and a 40W shop light. The frozen trees are apricot, peach, and nectarine.

Damage was severe on this 4th leaf Sugar Pearls apricot uncovered.

I covered several things but ran out of heat sources. Damage was severe on all those plants.

Apples and pears uncovered showed no damage except to fruit. Pecan, persimmon, jujube, mulberry, and grapes were toast unless covered plus heat.

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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Ouch! Most of the time I get wind so bad here that you couldn't keep anything covered if you wanted to.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


The heat source was the ticket. I have ten extension cords and a lot of light bulbs to fight late frost each year.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 2:13PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


The wind usually dies down before the damage occurs. I was putting up my shelters at 11pm because wind was too high before sunset. Fortunately 4-14 was a full moon.


I'm going to have a shelter over that apricot next year. But it won't be blankets and a shop light. It will be ~48 trees under a 21ft by 30ft structure covered with heavy weight frost blanket. I think the frost blanket alone will give some protection but maybe not enough based on this years results. But I think a 1500 watt electric heater plus frost blanket will give me 10-15F protection. We almost never need more than that in spring. At most I'll need two 1500W heaters.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Don't discount the ground heat.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 3:19PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I noticed in my unheated low tunnel (yes...small trees can easily fit inside) that i can protect trees down to about 22F with only minimal damage (some burnt leaves)... That is with cheap 3mil plastic. If I cover with blankets, i would imagine i could easily protect to the teens...given that the next day we get some sunshine or at least warmer temps (the heat of the day warms the soil-releases at night)... I did make the mistake on a sunny 60F day of not opening the tunnel up until about was 130F in there at that point...i fried some pluots, but the peaches were pretty much fine (maybe some burnt edges)...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 5:12PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I did a scratch test on the newly planted frozen trees. I think many are dead including the exposed rootstock. The best I can probably hope for is sprouting from the roots. That's nearly 100 trees affected.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:33PM
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I'm so sorry to hear that so many trees were affected. That's quite extensive. Wish I could help in anyway.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:51AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Thanks for your support. I'll redo it better next year. I've already got a possible plan and a year to get it right.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:54AM
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Fruitnut, what a hit. If anyone can get it right, its you! Sorry for the loss of trees this year, however, you're right they might sprout from the rootstock. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:11AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

The question is: Do you have scion to graft onto the rootstocks?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:35PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'll graft and bud what I can from the greenhouse but probably mostly on Krymsk 1 rather than anything that sprouts from these trees. If the frozen trees come back above ground I'll keep them, rootstock or scion sprouts. But if, as Lovell is prone to do, the sprout is from below ground I'll probably discard the tree because that would leave a stub of the present trunk.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:15PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Fruitnut, What material do you use on the ground?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:32PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

That's lumite from Shaw Fabric Products in Fort Collins. It has lasted quite a few years exposed. It's not an ideal setup but in a dry climate like ours I think it's better than fighting weeds or grass.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shaw Fabric Products

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:50PM
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