any good way to protect blossoms from late frost?

vieja_gw(z7NM)April 2, 2010

Every year we get a late frost that nips/frosts the blossoms of the plum, peach & apricots (one of each) so we rarely have any fruit to taste in the fall from them. We tried covering them at night with row covers, blankets even tried setting the alarm for 2-4 am to go out & chec the temp. outdoors & have small kerosene smudge pots ready to light under some of them. Is there any way to slow the budding process for later to by-pass those late frosts? I water well thinking that the cold water might slow down blooming or would that even hasten the blossoming? Any easy to use fabric covering that would insulate the trees a bit at night? And an easier way to get the coverings over the tops of the trees .. we've used broomsticks, etc. to hoist the coverings over the tree tops but what a chore & takes 2-3 people to do it! The Bing cherry & the apple trees are later blossoming .. just starting to show some color so think we may be able to harvest fruit from them. Our average late frost is about mid April I think here in zone 7. Our trees are all of the dwarf variety simply to be able to take care of that height better. Any ideas surely appreciated!!

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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

I'm really late with this reply, but maybe it will help you next year.

I keep Christmas tree lights in my fruit trees. The kind with the large bulb; the fairy lights won't help.

I have the lights on a thermostat, to go on automatically when temps get down to 40 degrees.

It's not a huge help, but I figure it gives me a couple of degrees more leeway, and that's often just enough.

Blossoms won't normally get damaged until about 29 degrees, so if I can protect them to 26, it covers almost any spring freeze we have.

If you only have 1 of each type of fruit, your problem might be lack of pollination rather than frost. 100% probability that the plum problem is lack of a pollinator.

I'm supposed to be zone 5, but that's a joke. Weather is much tougher than zone 5. I'm getting fruit, so I can't see why it would be too cold in zone 7. It's May 5th and there is snow and hail going on outside my window right now.

I plant cold hardy varieties and get the latest bloomers I can find. Late blooming will make a huge difference in whether or not you get fruit where there are spring freezes.

I suspect I lost the crop on my earlier blooming apricot. We had several night with temps in the teens right after it bloomed. But the apricot that blooms 2 weeks later has lots of tiny baby apricots on it right now.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 6:45PM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

Thanks for the suggestions - I was going to get rid of the strings of large Christmas bulbs but will try them out next Spring now!

No, usually the Weeping Santa Rosa plum & apricot trees are loaded with fruit so don't think a pollination problem but we are in zone 7 (hi-desert at mile high/5200 ft. elevation. Average last frost date here is April 17 but got snow last week ... 'global warming'?!! We have switched to dwarf trees so we are able to toss blankets over most of them at night. Did notice fewer bees this Spring but the peach, apple & Bing Cherry trees still were so loaded with fruit that I will have to start thinning them so don't think pollination was the problem with the apricot & plum as all the trees are in a line together.

Thanks again for your reply!

- vieja

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 7:26PM
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matt_ohio(5b/6a)
    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:15PM
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