Further report on winter peach damage

olpea(zone 6 KS)April 5, 2014

I wanted to update what I've found this year regarding winter damage of flower buds of peach.

As I mentioned before, virtually all the peach trees at my house had very few live buds. The exception was Flat Wonderful and Contender, which both had lots of viable flower buds.

I was particularly impressed with Flat Wonderful at the house. I pruned it back savagely this spring and it still has some viable blooms left. I should have left more wood on it.

Currently we are at green to red calyx on peaches.

The farm had less winter damage. I'm wondering if temps at the farm (7 miles away) were slightly warmer this winter than at the house.

Today I walked the peach rows at the farm to assess the bloom on different varieties.

I currently have over 100 varieties of peaches, but only evaluated the varieties at the farm I expect to fruit this year and none of the varieties at the house (since hardly any peaches at the house look like they fruit this year). Of course I didn't evaluate any very young trees.

I rated the varieties in three categories of bloom hardiness. Poor bloom, decent bloom, and good bloom.

I didn't count individual blooms, rather evaluations were made based on overall visual observation of the cultivars.

Of course the observations are anecdotal because it is only one year's data. However, there is probably some significance of the data, as the cultivars I observed at the farm are the same age, roughly the same size (2.5" - 3" diameter trees - going into third leaf) and next to one another. Most of the time there are several trees of the same cultivar to observe the results.

The data should not be interpreted to determine the most hardy cultivars in places like MN or WI, where min. winter temps are -20F. Instead it should be noted the min. winter temp. here was around -10F.

All trees mentioned had some flower buds close to bloom. So from that standpoint, there were no total losers. However there was a vast difference in the amount of viable flower buds on the various cultivars.

Here is what I found:

Cultivars with poor bloom:
Rich May
Sugar May
Honey Blaze
Snow Brite - very poor
PF9A - very poor
NJF18 BuenOs
Starfire - very poor
Raritan Rose
PF Lucky 13
Silver Logan - very poor
Johnboy II
Ernies Choice
Klondike White
Canadian Harmony
PF 23
Sugar Giant
PF 24-007
Coralstar - very poor
Sweet Breeze
Blushingstar - very poor
Glowingstar - very poor
Messina - very poor
PF 25
Snow Giant
September Snow
Sweet Bagel

The following varieties had decent bloom:
Garnet Beauty
Early Redhaven
Sweet Scarlet
White Lady
Early Loring
NJF 17 TangOs II
PF 17
Summer Pearl (NJ252)
Sweet Cap
PF 27a

The following varieties had good to excellent bloom:
Early Red Fre
NJF 15 BuenOs II - Excellent
NJF 16 TangOs
PF 15a
Madison - Excellent
Encore - Excellent

There were some varieties I expected to do well and others defied expectations.

General observations:

Contender is rated as hardy and it was one of the only two varieties (out of a total of 30+ varieties) at the house which looks like it may have a full crop.

Madison is supposed to be hardy and indeed the Madison trees have a ton of flower buds opening. BuenOs II and TangOs are both loaded with flower buds at the farm, but TangOs at the house is pretty much barren of flower buds.

I was very surprised about Bounty. I've read numerous times Bounty is a recommended replacement for Loring because Bounty is not as winter tender as Loring. However both cultivars showed few viable flower buds (although Bounty showed a few more than Loring, but not enough difference to recommend Bounty IMO) I have 5 Bounty on Bailey (from Adams) and 4 Bounty on Lovell (from Vanwell). Bounty on both rootstocks performed poorly, w/ regard to bud hardiness.

I note that Redhaven and sports, Garnet Beauty and Early Redhaven all had decent bloom.

Loring and sports Johnboy and Johnboy II had poor bloom, although Early Loring had decent bloom.

Peaches from the Harrow breeding station didn't do so well - Harken and Canadian Harmony. I have 14 Harken and none of them did very well. Although, Hardired nect looks to have a decent bloom.

I have 10 Rich May trees and 10 PF1 and they all did noticeably poorly in terms of upcoming bloom.

edit: Update results of bloom as a followup.

This post was edited by olpea on Mon, May 19, 14 at 21:42

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

All I can say,..your'e the Peach King!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Peach King is right! That is great info, I am saving it.

Do you notice any variety that is later along in the process than most of the others? Something that would be a better option for any late frosts?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Thanks Konrad and Jag. I don't know about peach king, but I like to think I'm a peach enthusiast!

Jag, I didn't pay much attention to note which cultivars were a little further along. Here peach blooms always seems to happen within a few days of one another. In other words, the first blooming peach blooms a few days ahead of the last blooming peach.

Here at the house Autumnstar, Flat Wonderful, and White County have been generally the first ones to show. Redskin, Bounty and O'Henry are also a few cultivars which bloom a little earlier. I recall Rehaven is one of the later ones to bloom, but like I say, the spread is only a few days.

One exception was that I once had a peach called White River. The first year it bloomed, it set a nice bloom but bloomed a week earlier than the other peaches. I lost it later that summer, so it was just a one year observation.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Are you finding any dead wood? I've noticed a ton of it here at my house, but obviously I had much lower, more prolonged cold then you. I'll be shocked to find even one bloom here.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)


Man I'm sorry your peach trees had it so rough. It wasn't a friendly winter.

The only dead wood I've found is on 7 trees I pruned really hard in the early part of winter. These were all trees which had completed one growing season, and grew really well.

I didn't prune them last summer, but waited till early winter to prune them, then pruned them back to three small shoots to train for scaffolds. All 4 trees had large limbs growing straight up, which I pruned off. The pruning wounds were probably 1" in diameter or larger. All that was left were three small shoots to retrain as scaffolds. All 7 trees died.

I've done this before with no problems, but the winter was just too cold this year. Originally I thought I only killed three trees by this pruning, but I was out at the farm yesterday and noticed a fourth similarly pruned tree dead.

I prefer to train scaffolds throughout the first summer, but I got really behind on my pruning last summer and didn't get it done. If this happens again, I will wait and prune those one year trees the following spring.

So far I haven't noticed any dead wood on older peach trees, even older trees I pruned hard before the cold hit, but it wasn't near as cold here as you experienced.

A couple questions for you. Did you notice any varieties had less winter kill vs. others? Have you ever tried Wisconsin Balmer?

This post was edited by olpea on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 8:27

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

My peaches are all seedling Redhaven and Reliance... So far I'm not noticing much difference, although the lowest branches (covered in snow) are fine (usually the case here). I have several Japanese plums budded to a few of them and i'm seeding good cambium on them, so i'm hoping the wood made it (the flowers will be toast). I'm a good 2 weeks behind you (forecast shows 60F today and around 60F the next 5 days or so). I'll know more when things start swelling. Just a guess, but in a winter like this, even the most cold hardy of peaches is probably not going to bear...just what you deal with in growing up here.

I will be careful when pruning. Probably need to quit pretty early around here to make things size up before winter. Smaller branches do not stand a chance.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Just wanted to bump this because I made some changes based on follow-up observations on the bloom of various cultivars.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Olpea, thanks for sharing your wealth of info. It's tough when winter is so cruel but it does help determine, in real-life situations, how cultivars perform. Sometimes catalog descriptions are not that reliable and it costs a lot of money and time to figure that out. So thanks for sharing your investment of money and time with us!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 4:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Thanks Milehigh.

It all looks like it's moot this year. Have you seen the forecast? The NWS is calling for a low of 25F here Monday night/Tues. morning.

We've had several days of warm weather. Today it was in the 80s. So many things in bloom. I even have Euro plums in full bloom. These 25F temps will ice everything. I'm surprised no one from the lower Midwest has posted about it on GardenWeb.

Apples, pears, and some of the Euro plum blooms which haven't opened will be the only tree fruit to survive.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, Olpea, that is so disappointing! Even though it's been a long, cold winter here in WI, everything seems to be waking slowly and I have hope most tree fruit here will bloom after the last frost.

Buds are hardly pushing here, nothing is close to bloom, and the only green I see is my gooseberries tiny leaves emerging. As we are expecting snow tonight and tomorrow, I don't think anything will be close to blooming soon.

I hope your forecast is off, and the night is warmer than expected!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Olpea and thanks for the diligence and reporting.

I'm mystefied at what I'm seeing on my 2 peach trees - the 3rd leaf Redhaven is pushing out about 1/4 - 1/2" of green all over the place but fruit buds are nearly nowhere to be found. On the 8th leaf Reliance the opposite is the case, tons of swelled fruit buds with a bit of color at the tip and almost no leaf buds popping or anywhere to be seen. It appears as though those -10 temps. were selective as to what they killed on the 2 trees, time will tell. I can only find a few tip buds on Reliance with a bit of green, nothing else.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Thanks for the well wishes Fruitmaven. Our last total freeze out for peaches was in 07 for this area, so I guess we are due for one. Still a bummer though.

I'm thinking about experimenting with whitewash on the trees in the future. I read some research done several years ago by a prof. who tested a whitewash as a means to delay bloom. She claimed she postponed bloom one week by whitewashing whole peach trees vs. unwashed controls (The white reflected enough sun to delay bloom by a week.) This year, one week would make all the difference.


I agree. It sounds like your Redhaven fruit buds got froze out this winter. Your Reliance being more cold hardy and still tight, will probably produce a full crop for you.

I've found some peach varieties bloom without pushing hardly any leaf tissue. Others will push 3/4 to 1" of green when the bloom. It's interesting to watch with all these varieties next to one another.

Your area is probably a little behind mine, since you're farther north and west. I did notice a the Madison trees at the farm yesterday were a bit behind the others, so they may have some fruit that survives. Still it won't be enough to justify any sprays. I plan to abandon any sparse peach crop which happens to survive this cold snap.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mark_roeder(4B IA)


Could you tell us whether you operate a nursery, or a commercial orchard. If an orchard, could you tell us how you market your peaches?

Are there other area peach orchards so that you can achieve
economies of scale insofar as marketing peaches and their products to more distant markets?

What other fruits do you grow commercially, if any? Are you also diversified with other crops?

Hope I don't sound too nosy. I live in town and wished I could do something like you are doing. I had not known that there any large scale peach orchards in Kansas, and am curious how you make it work.

After this winter will you be growing more Contenders, and some Reliance?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Hi Mark,

It's commercial. I started part-time orchard and a few years ago bought and planted some ground to make it full-time. This would have been my first year to harvest off the new planting. My link is below.

There are 4 other retail peach orchards w/in a reasonable driving distance of mine. Nobody works together marketing because, for the most part, everybody can sell what they grow. Tree ripe peaches will generally sell themselves. Even the worst are so much better than what is available at the grocer.

I've sold blackberries, tomatoes, plums, and pears. I have a blackberry planting at the farm but may grub it out. SWD is a big deal w/ blackberries. I planted a small summer apple and plum planting at the farm (about 20 trees each) and about 15 cherry trees, but mostly peaches.

Even though the demand is there, it's a tough business (because of years like this). Plus it takes a lot of capital and a lot of foregone income during establishment. There's a saying, "How do you make a small fortune in the orchard business? Start with a large one."

Recently, I have been seriously investigating more winter hardy cultivars. Michael357 sent me a NWS link with all the annual winter low temps in the KC area, going back for many years.

It was interesting and informative. First I looked at the min. winter temps from 1990 on. During that 24 year period, we had 4 years of what I would call critical winter bud killing temps (temps below -10F): -12,-14,-12, and -10(this winter).

That's not too bad for 24 years, but next I looked at the period from 1980 to 1989. During that 10 year period, we had 6 bud killing years of less than -10F: -13,-19,-21,-14,-11, and -23 (which was an all-time record low). Some of the temps during that decade would have killed whole trees.

Overall, I feel like it's a good idea to include some hardy varieties in the mix, if the quality is decent. I'm thinking on years that's it's too cold for most peaches, some peaches would be better than none (even if they are not the very best peaches).

I've grown Reliance before and didn't like the quality here, but some of the newer cold hardy peaches are supposed to be better. I already grow Contender and it's a good peach. I planted a couple PF24c and a Veteran this spring to try. Madison may yet fruit at the farm this year, since it's somewhat behind the other peaches. I'm liking what I read about Intrepid and Challenger. There are some other peaches in my original post, which performed well.

A lot of these peaches won't tolerate the -20 temps we got in the 80s, but very few peaches will. I am just looking for some peaches which will still fruit after -10 to -15 temps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tubby Fruits

This post was edited by olpea on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 11:57

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

In the '90's here we seemed to get well below -10 every winter- usually more like -15 and everyone living here considered this normal.

The only winter I lost my peach crop it got around -22F but the growers who lost trees were in spots that got below -25. You can ask someone at ACN who was working there then.

It is late hard frosts that usually knock off crop here. I wonder why your trees are more sensitive there. Maybe our temps don't fluctuate as much.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

" I wonder why your trees are more sensitive there. Maybe our temps don't fluctuate as much."


I think that's right. I think the site at my house is more unfavorable. The temps are more moderated which prevents hardening off, and/or dehardens buds.

The farm overall actually did better with bloom than originally thought. The individual cultivars are ranked accurately, but the poor didn't do quite as poor as I originally thought, and the good did better than I originally thought. In short, all categories did better than the first time I assessed.

Still, I think there are a lot of unique climate differences which affect dormant bud hardiness. We've discussed it before, but I can't explain why there are accounts of peaches fruiting at -20 and below. I've never experienced this, and probably never will, but I don't doubt it. There are too many accounts to ignore it. I'm just shooting to obtain some crop when it hits 15 below.

Below is a pic I took today of a Rosy Gage in my backyard, with about 1/2 the flowers opened up. The pic doesn't have anything to do with this thread, but I thought the bloom was a good one for a Gage type plum. All the flowers will be frozen off by tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Olpea, that is not a good story. Thank you for posting the picture. This is painful. The tree is beautifully pruned and perfect. It looks like a Japanese painting. I will report on my peaches as soon as they bloom. You have been my 'peach' inspiration for keeping my trees low and as wide as possible. What a miserable winter and spring. I know you'll have great peaches this summer though, in your large orchard. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mark_roeder(4B IA)

About 4-years ago I lost all my peach trees to what I think was -27F. It was -39F about 15-20 miles south of us, so it might have been much colder that night 4-years ago. I think I had 2-Reliances that perished entirely.

I try to keep rotating peach trees in my backyard to guard against being shut out. We are now supposedly in Zone 5A, rather than Zone 4B, but within the past 5 years we now have had two years where we were Zone 4B temps. We had -30F two nights this winter, so I am anticipating I lost both trees. I was planning on digging the 3rd one up, which never produced a peach in 4-years. I hope one of my trees made it. But it is too early to tell. I'll report back as spring progresses.

I appreciate the story of your farming operation, and wish I had the resources and time to do what you are doing.

I had enough peaches last year to take to the farmers market, but my wife had gotten the bug to freeze as many as she could and give the rest to family. I don't fault that, because her family members now have a taste for what I would like to sell at the farmers market, and although the quality was less than the quantity in 2013 they were mightily impressed with fresh peaches, which are a rarity in Iowa.

I have had peaches following -23F on Reliance in the past.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

For me...i'm getting rid of the in ground peaches. Not worth the space in my (what i consider) small lot. Space would be much better utilized for apples. I'm interested in what the apricots and sweet cherries do. With this weather i'll need to wait until 2 weeks. Going to be sweet cherries in mid July this year at the rate we are going.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

To show how different zone 6's are, all my trees are still dormant, which is good, as it's snowing right now! This should be the last couple days of freezing weather, and all my trees are still dormant enough not to really be bothered by it. Doesn't matter much as they are so young, i don't really expect a crop this year anyway.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Drew, that is a pretty good point as far as the unreliability of zones to determine how cultivars will perform. It is all catalogs usually provide for guidance.

It is even more complicated, apparently, then just a question of risk of late frosts- Olpea seems to suffer killing of peach flowers at temperatures much less extreme than what we can generally take in NY. I'm thinking this is most likely because of greater fluctuations of temps, but we get our share of winter thaws. Wind may be a factor as well. So many variables, so little actual scientific evaluation.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 6:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

The cold came in this morning, but it's going to take time to determine how much damage occurred to blooms and post blooms. Lows were pretty spotty. Lows around the area ranged from 29F (here at the house) to 26F in some areas.

MSU indicates damage starts at 27F for bloom and 28F for post bloom, but I believe their temps are based on 30 min. intervals at those temps. I've found most blooms aren't quite as hardy as they report, probably because the low temps typically last longer than 30 min. here.

Of course there are varietal differences in bloom hardiness as well.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Good chance you didn't sustain horrific damage. Hopefully it just thins you a little.

Do you weather station on your farm (that records max/min)?

I had 26F here, but we had some clouds around. We also still have a little snow on the ground from the inch and a half we got yesterday.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Do you have a weather station on your farm (that records max/min)?"


That's the thing, I don't have a weather station at the farm, so don't know exactly how cold it got.

I've tried to look at the surrounding areas nearby this morning from the NWS and news but it's really hard to tell. From nearby areas, I'm guessing it maybe got down to 29f out there? Not sure though. I need to get a decent min/max thermometer out there.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mark_roeder(4B IA)

A couple years ago I was going to outsmart the weather in a spring freeze. We had blooms covering the Reliance.

So I took a lawn sprinkler and put under the tree, and ran it all night. I think it got down to 23 to 25F. I should have known what happens when you have ice freezing on trees. Two of the 3 main branches split down the middle, and fell to the ground.

I still had peaches on the remaining branch. Those peaches were consumed by Japanese Beetles. There were no peaches for #1.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

On Tuesday at 6AM it was 27 degrees here, and it stayed there for hours by 4PM it was 32. Now at 11PM it's back to 27 degrees. If anything were blooming they would be gone.
I'm worried my rain barrel is going to crack! A low of 20 degrees tonight. We better get used to these cold winters, as it's expected to last 20 years.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mark_roeder(4B IA)


Do you market any peach products, such as juice that is juiced out of your peaches.

And if you do so, where do you take peaches for juicing.

I see you are just south of KC. It seems like a good area to market fruit.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)


I don't sell any juice/jam type products from peaches.

I've tried to juice peaches and product I came up with is too thick for my taste. I don't like that thick texture. I know Michael357, on this forum, juices a lot of his peaches.

Part of the problem with selling processed products is that the price is generally lower while the time and cost of processing is higher, at least for someone like me.

I see people selling jam/jelly at the Farmer's Market and don't understand how they make it work. I've made a good bit of jam/jelly for my family and it takes a lot of time.

I think the apple juice market survives because juice apples are lower quality and/or surplus, so growers couldn't sell them at all if it wasn't for juice. Now China controls the apple juice market anyway and they can produce apples dirt cheap for that market. There is little cost in producing apples when labor is only making 5 bucks/day.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

China has most of the frozen apple juice market but in states with a lot of apple production "cider" is still a big money maker at farm markets- local is also available in many large grocery stores around here- they make a point of stocking it in Fall.

A small apple grower I do some consultation and a ton of pruning for (Thompson's Cider Mill) sells "gourmet" cider. Has a lot of Golden Russet and N. Spy in the formula.

He must be getting 4 or 5 bucks for a half gallon now, and shucks, if he didn't have to pay me so much he'd almost be breaking even. He doesn't produce nearly enough apples for this to be a money maker- less than 10 acres. State law requires pasteurization, which has put a lot of smaller producers out of business.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Few thoughts:

I don't currently grow any fruit, but I did back in Ohio (90s/early 00s):

Olpea - I found that the blooms were a bit MORE freeze-tolerant than those MSU charts. I saw some cropping even after lower 20s on peaches, but it was a very brief shot - it was 30F at 3am, 23F at 7am, and back to 40F by 9. They also weren't completely open, and I think the blossoms that ended up setting were the ones that were still closed at the time of the freeze.

I lost all my trees in the '94 freeze in Akron, OH (-25F), but I think my low lying yard at the time was closer to -30. Some orchards around me lost crops but trees survived, believe it or not, that year.

We fared well here in MD for this week's freeze. We have been colder, so things aren't as advanced, and it didn't freeze as hard, either. Peaches are JUST coming into bloom, and most areas closer to the cities and/or the water didn't get below 29 or 30 at the coldest. Some more outlying areas might have touched the mid 20s, but the trees in those areas are also a few days behind, so I think damage is minimal.

However, one place in the Shenandoah Valley in VA reached the teens Wed. night.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Planted 4 varieties of peach here in MN last year, bare root from Stark Bros., 1 each, Contender, Intrepid, Reliance, and Blushingstar. We had the coldest winter here since '78-'79 (great timing by me) my back yard dipped below -30. We did have an exceptional amount of snow cover and I covered the base of each tree with several inches of oak leaves for protection before the first snow, so,we'll see. snow's gone now, I'm leaving the leaf cover to delay the ground warming around the roots and hopefully delay bloom. Pruned the other day and I think I see signs of life and all are alive but not sure yet. The next couple weeks will be interesting!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Went out this morning to take another look at the peach trees. When I take a cutting from any branch on my apple trees the wood is green everywhere. No sign of green on any of the peaches. Not looking good.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Thanks for the info olpea. I just checked my peach, which is going into its third season. It is covered in buds that look like they're about to bloom, and I have yet to spray. Is it too late?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Thanks for the report mhayes. Please post back. I'm always interested in accounts from cold areas like yours and the account hairmetal mentioned.


If you are referring to leaf curl, I think there still may be some benefit to spraying at this late juncture. If it were me, I would go ahead and spray a leaf curl spray.

Lastly, as another addendum to winter peach bud hardiness, Carolina Gold ended up performing well in my backyard where most of the cold winter damage occurred. I suppose this should be expected, as the more recent focus of the N. Carolina breeding program has at least been in part on cold tolerance (i.e. Challenger and Intrepid).

In summary, the varieties which bloomed well in my backyard were: Contender, Encore (which also did well at the farm), Carolina Gold, and PF7a.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I figured with my 4 failed peach trees I should cut off all the dead wood and get to some green wood in hopes they'll bounce back. No matter how close to the trunk I go there is no sign of green wood. This is probably a dumb question however I have no experience with peaches, should I expect to see green wood on cut peach limbs/branches? Everything else I prune (blueberries, apples, grapes etc.) the cut wood is nice and green inside. Thanks for any help

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

Yes I think you should expect to see some green cambium if the tree is still alive, so perhaps not a good sign.

I lost some young peach trees this winter. Of the ones I lost, some of them started with some green cambium but as time went on during this warm up, the green cambium has turned brown with the bark slowly shriveling.

This has happened before on trees I've lost for other reasons. The cambium will start out green but I think the green is slightly paler than normal and slowly turns brown. I'm convinced the trees were dead before spring, but the final symptoms of death hadn't yet set in.

Some people in colder climates have reported their peach trees leafed out very late after a particularly harsh winter, so you may want to give your peach trees more time.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the response olpea. I'm going to try again this year but do 3 things differently. 1. Stop fertilizing mid to late Aug and greatly decrease the watering in Sept./Oct. to try to encourage dormancy. 2. Plant all the peach trees in a relatively close group so I can cover them and even possibly heat them on severely cold nights or in case of early bloom. 3. My Nectarine tree coming tomorrow will be potted in a 32 gallon pot so I can dolly it into my garage for the winter, (wheel it out to sit on the blacktop driveway on decent days.)
If this doesn't work, well, theres always Costco.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

I have no buds swelling on any of the 20 reliance or red haven I planted last fall. I think it was the wrong year to try fall planting. Buds are swelling on all of the tart cherries, except 3 of 10 Balaton, and apples I planted last fall.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)


same here..im seeing a lot of leaves pushing on my peaches, but no flowers swelling. I also not seeing and swelling on the Japanese plums (just leaves)...on the other hand the hybrid plums should be full of blooms and the cherries (even the sweets) look good...


That is a large pot. Just make sure you use a light potting mix or that thing will weigh a ton (sometimes you got to man handle them, even with the dolly)...i have probably 30 stonefruit (various) in pots...everything in the garage (unheated/attached, but poorly insulated --it was below 0F in there many times according to our van) is swelling (should flower any day)..the pluots are full, the plums, the peaches, the donuts...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Frank, thats interesting, what size pots do you generally use? Can you get halfway decent lifespan/yields from the potted trees? I'm starting to think that even tho there are several peach varieties approved for my zone, its not very realistic to expect to get them thru these winters alive or through the cold springs with fruit intact. Maybe pots are the way to go

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

15 gallon....couple of pluots in whiskey barrels, which i don't recommend.

Just some of them...

Lifespan? I think you could probably keep them going for a long time. What does happen over time, is the soil level slowly drops, so what I do is just pull the whole rootball right out and add some more soil to the bottom. You could also root prune (do it dormant) and you must prune branches back to get new fruit wood. One of my white peaches has been in a pot for 4 years and has done fine. This year i hacked it back hard to get some new branching. Yield? From a 15 gallon pot I think with my peaches, i had probably a dozen very large ones...what the issue is there is the squirrels will go after them.

You must water often once the weather turns warm. Like every day (at least for me, but my soil my be more draining). You must feed a few times through out summer.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Nice little picture from MSU of what i'm seeing (left pic) on all my outdoor peaches...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Frank, thanks for the perfect picture. 90% of my Elberta peach looks like the picture on the left. The tree is over five years old and might have 30 peaches on it before thinning. My Belle of Georgia white peach looks like the pic. on the right (also my Chinese peach and my Early Crawford). Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks just like my 3rd leaf Redhaven on the left. 8th leaf Reliance in full bloom now, hoping the ovaries survived too! Thanks for the pic. Frank.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Just looked over my peaches again...still nothing happening, but most of them have started pushing out leaves. What i have found exciting is that i'm almost 100% sure that the Satsuma is going to at least try to flower! Seeing a lot of flower buds swelling.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

With the cold spring, things have been a bit compressed.

Bloom starts:
4/17- Tomcot apricot
4/19- White River peach (the one which bloomed 1 week prior to others for Olpea)
4/21- Montrose apricot
4/22- Satsuma and Superior plums, and Harlayne apricot. Most of the Honeyberries are also open, though I didn't catch when it first happened.
4/23- NJF 16 and Encore peaches
4/24- Most of the rest of the peaches now have open flowers, except PF1 and PF Big George

The Euro pears are at first white and Asian pears are at full white. Most of the apples are at tight cluster, with Hudson's Golden Gem being the furthest along. Pomme Gris, Court Pendu Plat are both way behind, somewhere between silver tip and green tip. Mother is just a bit ahead of them.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been holding off adding to this report hoping some flowers would somehow burst forth on my peach trees, but I don't think it is gonna happen.

Usually my peach trees blossom about the last week of April, although one year I recall not it not starting until about the 29th. After this killer winter, I have only 2 blossoms about to open on one (an Encore) of my 3 approx 20y old trees. The three peaches and a nectarine planted last year have none either. All are leafing out for the past week.

Other trees are fine. I planted 4 Japanese plums last year and each has had a few flowers-Methley on 4/16, the Ozark Premier, Santa Rosa and Starting Delicious in the past 3 days. The 2 Montmorency cherries planted last year also started blooming late last week. My older Green Gage plum started blooming profusely a few days ago. The pears and apples are in good shape, with flower buds visible all over.

I have had 2 years with no peaches in the last 20, both where the trees bloomed but extensive sub-freezing cold during the bloom and shortly after was the cause, when the trees were much younger. I have never had a loss of virtually all peach blossoms before. I have never had a winter like this one either. We had 2 days where it did not get above 0, we had more days with temps under 0 than I have ever seen, and the low was -14. My trees are on a hilltop where they do get a lot of wind as well.

This post was edited by eboone on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 16:24

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)


Yup...same here. Nothing for peaches, except the container peaches. The plums look good. Everything else looks fine. Here was my winter...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 5:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

eboone, sorry to hear that and somewhat surprised that you didn't have similar lows in at least a few winters early in the lives of those peach trees. Here in SW NY the bloom seems fine on all varieties except a couple of West Coast peaches, but I don't think we got below about -12. This used to be around our average low until the 21st century.

However, I don't ever remember, even on the most extreme winters, having days that didn't get at least into the higher single digits. In 25 years growing peaches here the only time winter temps froze out peaches it got down to -22 on two occasions.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

I still have no swelling of any kind on my 20 new reliance or red haven. No leaves or buds. Some of them still have green tissue underneath, but nothing is happening. Everything else has leaves now.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I was happy when my Red Baron peach bloomed a week ago. There were only about a 3rd of the flowers bloomed and the rest were toast by the -15F. The contender, Flat Wonderful, Belle of Georgia,and Red Haven peaches had no damage. Plums, Pluots, Paw paws, Carmine Jewel cherries, and Asian pears are blooming right now. The American Persimmons just showed green tips. Honey berries and Apricots were the first to bloom and formed fruitlets. Jujubes are still dormant. I wish this cold cycle goes away for ever. Wishful thinking!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is so suprising to me, that Tony has trees that bloomed last week and are in bloom now and I'm still waiting to have my peaches blossom and my other trees show blossom buds. I thought you would all be way behind my zone. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


The weather has been awesome the last couple of weeks in the 70's and 80's. I did a bunch of stone fruit grafts (Winblo, Foster, Robada, Orange Red, Hesse, 4 more Flavor King, and the scions buds starting to show some green tip. I still have a bunch of Asian persimmon woods from UC Irvine to be grafted. I hope to graft at least 3 or 4 true Fuyu the USDA got from Japan,


This post was edited by tonytran on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 23:11

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Tony---huge difference in weather this month between you and me...you being on the warm side, me on the garbage side...even worse as you go north of here (Lake Superior still full of ice))....now the forecast is all 50Fs and rain for the next 5 days. I'm still not at bloom on anything.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tony that is fantastic. I think I'll try to get scion for OrangeRed apricot for next year. Fruitnut says it is the best. I will be grafting this week.

My weather is far from as bad as Frank's (ugh horrible) but no bloom here either. The only things open are early magnolia. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any of you cold weather folks ever remove the leaves from your trees in the fall to try and encourage dormancy and hardening off before the severe cold hits? Thanks

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I never have. In my area we have plenty of chill hours and cold that easily takes care of the leaves. Dormancy is not a problem in RI. IMO, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 5:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Franktank, I hear ya on the weather. (I'm near Madison.) I'm trying to stay positive, all this cold weather means the stuff that does bloom might not get frosted. I'd really like cherries this year.

I've only got one peach planted, a 1-yr-old seedling barely 1 ft high. I wasn't sure it'd survive since I didn't cover it, but we got some good snow cover. It's in a 18" high raised bed (clay soil over here, not sand like Franktank). It's pushing leaves, even the stem areas that were exposed to -22F for days at a time. It's a seedling from a local white peach (bought at Olbrich Gardens Iris plant sale, so I haven't tasted it.) So, I guess we will see how it fares the next few years!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I only have 2nd leaf peach trees, and it looks like any possible fruit buds were killed. Not a big deal as I was going to remove all but one or two fruit anyway. One that might have fruit is Indian Free, which is ironic since it needs a pollinator. It's possible my nectaplum has viable buds, and could pollinate. If that happens, I'm keeping the seeds, And Indian Nectaplum sounds like a cool tree!
Both trees are starting to show some bud growth. My other peaches are leafing out. Which concerns me in the future. I may need a late blooming peach to pollinate Indian Free.
A strange year, so hard to tell, young plants too, so time of blooming may adjust as they figure out the local climate. I have seen that with other plants.
My cherries are at my cottage and I have no idea as ferry services are late due to lake ice. I have not been up there yet. During the last 10 years I would have the place open and running by now! I'm going Thursday to connect the water, and other opening procedures.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 2 contender peach trees, they both look dead after the hard winter, last year and the year before did really well. I have not cut them down yet, and I have new grow at the base of them, should I cut the dead off and let them grow from the bottom?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

How far from the bottom? If it is just sprouts from the rootstocks then the peaches will not be true to the variety.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

All depends on if its above or below the rootstock. If its below, id probably either graft it over (if possible) or remove and replace.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

they are above the ground,

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Please post a photo. It's hard to tell unless we can see.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 12:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

here are pics

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

and the other one

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 10:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Wow...that tree was totally zapped. I'd say you have root stock growing there and you would need to graft over a known variety. If not dig it and toss, replace.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

It's hard to tell from pics, but the rootstock suckers look like some type of plum/hybrid. Probably not something very edible.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 6:13PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Carmine Jewel
So I've been fretting about my Early Richmond for a...
Plum tree
My plum tree has new growth. I remember a couple of...
conflicting pawpaw spacing info
Last week I planted several dozen paw paw. I had read...
Bushwhacker Blood
Apricots, Hunza and Manchurian blossom and flowering.
Hi, I live in Oslo, Norway, which is around a 5b or...
Gophers killing apple trees... Help!
Gophers have killed 2 roses and one prized apple tree...
Sponsored Products
Mono-a - Stainless Steel 5-Piece Set - Mono
$210.00 | HORNE
Walnut Slope Chair in Red
$144.99 | Dot & Bo
Safavieh Dark Grey/ Beige Indoor Outdoor Geometric Rug (8' x 11' 2")
Design House 31W x 19D in. Aurora Cultured Marble Single Sink Vanity Top Multico
$299.99 | Hayneedle
Safavieh Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Safavieh Rugs Soho Blue/Multi 2 ft. x 3 ft.
$47.97 | Home Depot
2 Doors, 2 Drawer Vanity Cabinet with Self Rimming Sink
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™