Further report on winter peach damage
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:
Snow Brite - very poor
PF9A - very poor
Starfire - very poor
PF Lucky 13
Silver Logan - very poor
Coralstar - very poor
Blushingstar - very poor
Glowingstar - very poor
Messina - very poor
The following varieties had decent bloom:
NJF 17 TangOs II
Summer Pearl (NJ252)
The following varieties had good to excellent bloom:
Early Red Fre
NJF 15 BuenOs II - Excellent
NJF 16 TangOs
Madison - Excellent
Encore - Excellent
There were some varieties I expected to do well and others defied expectations.
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