No fruit this year/April 9th-13th freeze

franktank232(z5 WI)April 8, 2012

I'm starting a new thread on the major freeze for the midwest/lakes.

I'm calling it for myself. NWS just lowered our temps for this week. 3 nights below freezing, Tues 27F, Weds 26F... That should be enough to kill off pretty much everything.

I plan on hacking back the apricots hard before the freezing so I can put some blankets over them. I'll try to blanket the plums as much as i can. The peaches will all get major haircuts, i doubt any peach will survive 26F...

This sucks.

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VegasGardener

how many trees do you have? will the hot bulbed christmas tree lights work well? I know someone who goes to the extreme of putting a propane heater by his lemon tree when the forecast calls for below freezing temps.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 6:34PM
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mrsg47(7)

Frank this is terrible news. And I felt bad losing the fruit from one nectarine. I really hope your forecast will change for the better. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 7:25PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

That is bad news Frank. I remember when this happened to the lower Midwest on Easter 2007. It was disgusting to see everything wiped out. I tried tarping a tree but that was a joke. It was so windy.

Where are you at on bud/flower development. Have later fruits like apples already bloomed in La Crosse?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:34PM
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calliope(6)

That's when you can pray for microclimates. We had some pretty low temps forecast when they started calling for 27 degree temps last week. Danged. However, There was just a huge extreme in temps on our property. The grapes, leafing out and some bud clusters present went through it unscathed. So did some very tender annual impatiens balsamina, who are extremely sensitive to cold temps. One magnolia was totally burnt, and the lilac in full bloom just went on blooming. It's a long stretch to last frost date, so keep your fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:54PM
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glib(5.5)

You only need 2 degrees to make it through. After the apparent lack of damage this week, when veggies covered with well weighed tarps froze solid, like HM I am starting to suspect that the MSU tables are a bit pessimistic.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:19PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

My microclimate isn't that great. I'm actually very near several weather stations, so what they get, is roughly what I get here.

Apples are (McIntosh and Cortland)blooming right now. Have no idea if they can take that, but my guess is that the apples and pears may handle it better then the stonefruit.

I've got around 15 trees, various small fruits. I'm getting my blankets together tomorrow (today was just way too busy). Stonefruit are all done flowering and most have set fruit. Apricots are loaded with small fruit. Sweet cherries are dropping petals today, same with the plums, peaches.

I'll be sure to take some pictures.

I do have a lot of container plants, which will all go in the garage and greenhouse.

Mon nite/Tues looks windy. I'm not covering anything but the strawberries and some other small flowers. Way too hard to protect stuff with strong wind.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 10:13PM
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ltilton

I've seen tarps and such do more damage than the cold, specially in a rough wind.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 10:16PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Some lows Tues morning:

Weds morning:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:22AM
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windfall_rob(vt4)

Doesn't look good Frank, Always frustrating to lose a crop...loosing them all is just depressing.

I have sort of resigned myself to near total loss this year. Lots of stuff at tight cluster right now, and I just don't see dodging freezes for 4+ more weeks. Hopefully I will be presently surprised and something will make it, but at least it frees me from messing with tarps every few nights for the next month.

The winter was so weird, but I think for us it was the week in the 70's mid march that sealed the deal. Everything broke dormancy then. the last few weeks of seasonal weather definitely slowed it all way down but I am not sure the trees can actually stop and hold once they get started.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 12:23PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

NWS bumped the temp up tonite to 31F, while the newest NAM model run shows 26F ...GFS at noon showed 28F....

No way to protect anything other then strawberries and blueberries with this hurricane wind. A perfect advection type freeze looks to be in the cards tonite.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 5:32PM
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glib(5.5)

There you go Frank. All this fretting for nothing, possibly. I suggest, since you can not do anything about it one way or another, that you eat the best steak you have in the freezer tomorrow night, together with the best bottle of wine you have. Wednesday night do the same. It is a strategy that can only gain. We are going to see 32 or 33 this week, every night, with one night tomorrow possibly down to 28 (I do not believe it).

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

My trees after falling to 22 while in full bloom bounced back with about 10% new blooms. I hope that happens with y'all as well.

Randy

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:27PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Covering plants with this wind is annoying. I have some blueberries that are flowering that I want to save and as soon as they are covered, the cover is blown off.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 7:46PM
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ltilton

Straw on the strawberries would just blow off and fly away.

But they revised tonite's low upward to 32, so it shouldn't be needed, even tho they're flowering.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:29PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Newest NAM is colder

Tomorrow morning

Weds morning

Covered what I could...I'm going to run out an cover a few more things before I hit the sack.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:19PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

At 11:30 p.m. it says it is clear and 38F.

At midnight I intend to put hook up the hose and water sprinkler and give that a go. I don't want to lose peaches.

We will be around 27-28F tonight. And tomorrow down to 26F.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:37AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

OK...we dropped quickly to 29F or 30F last night and then the wind kicked in hard (gusts 20+) and the temp went back up to 33/32F for the remainder...sitting at 32F. Checked some water and it has just a paper thin coat of ice on it.

Got lucky here...Rochester, MN directly west of here about 65 miles is sitting at 23F this morning!

Wind saved the day.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:32AM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

I hooked up hose and ran sprinkler. Got down to 25F. My best tree is now covered in ice; it broke in half.

I read a lot of advice on this. Don't believe everything you read.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:16AM
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ltilton

Forecast shifting - now the coldest here is supposed to come Weds nite.

But I'm lucky to be close enough to Chicago to be in the heat island.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:26AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Mark-

Wow that sucks. Can you take a picture? I also did some reading and decided to skip it. How high did you have the sprinkler? Under the tree? From what I understand, you don't even need to wet much of the tree, just the first few feet and the freezing of the ice will release heat (quite a bit). The problem is that you need to stay ahead of evaporation, since that lowers the temperature...so you need a certain flow rate. Wind also plays a factor.

I noticed a lot of MN/IA are in the 20Fs...winds relaxed over that way a little more.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:28AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Reading AFDs from La Crosse NWS and Minneapolis NWS, tonite looks to have the best potential for widespread hard freeze.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:07AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

It takes a hard freeze to knock out an entire peach crop in one event at full bloom or before. In Amarillo I once harvested a few peaches off Surecrop after two nights in a row at 13F near full bloom. This is why some people try Xmas lights or wetting the tree a couple times at night and declare success. They would have made a crop doing nothing.

Look at the chart numbers for 10% survival not 90%. All a home grower needs is a 10% set on most things.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:05PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Fruitnut-

Very good point. My peach trees need major thinning, as do the apricots. I plan on covering the small stuff again and the sweet cherries, but everything else is on its own...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:13PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

27F in La Crosse right now....been under freezing most of the night. Have about 20 sheets out there in various places.... Did what I could.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:40AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Hit a low of 26F.... Will be interesting to see how the apricots handled this...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:07AM
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camp10

We got down to 28 last night in southern Wisconsin.

Weird thing is, I couldn't find frost on anything. The air is very dry, and there was a breeze.

I was covering fruit trees last week, but I'm worn out. I told them that they're on their own. So far, they seem to be surviving.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:52AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

camp10-

Its due to the fact that the temperature and dewpoint are not close enough...I think our dew point was 18F last night, while the temps sat in the upper 20Fs for the most part. That spread is too much. As the temp dips down towards the dewpoint (or the dewpoint rises due to more moisture), then frost will form.

I think we are done here...I'm not covering anything tonite, even with temps dropping into the low 30Fs...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:25AM
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ltilton

One more nite here - maybe the lowest.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:02AM
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camp10

Thanks for the explanation, Frank.

Things look pretty good here. Hopefully we can hold on one more night. Saw some bees buzzing around the blossoms this afternoon. It was good to see.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:55PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I did too...a bumblebee was working the sweet cherries (the last one to bloom was Black Gold).

Beautiful night. Not a cloud in the sky and almost no wind. Holding onto 53F at the moment. Probably end up right around freezing by morning. The ridge looks to shift east allowing winds to shift to the south.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:37PM
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