Michigan peach tree cold damage

franktank232(z5 WI)May 29, 2014


"Peach fruit are out of the shuck. Crop potential is quite variable across the region. We are continuing to see tree decline in older peach orchards in areas subjected to extreme low temperatures. Cuts made in pruning young trees with no crop reveal extensive damage to the wood in the trunk. These trees will begin to show real stress when they leaf out and hot, dry weather puts a real stress on the water conducting ability of damaged wood. Leaf yellowing and wilting will be symptoms of winter injury that will become more apparent as the season progresses."

"A cut through a scaffold limb on the six-year-old peach tree revels that wood older than two-years-old was damaged by winter cold. In severely damaged trees, all the wood is brown. Photo credit: Mark Longstroth, MSU Extension"

I believe this is what happened to an apricot of mine. The symptoms are exactly as described above. I have no idea what the temp was to do this damage nor the variety of tree they are showing. I know for me the coldest was around -23F/-24F.

southwest Mi fruit report

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Possible unseen cause of failure to fruit.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 8:49AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I'm seeing this in two trees. My nectaplum, and a Santa Rosa plum. I think the latter will die, the nectaplum will make it, but all scaffolds are dead. i will have to redevelop new ones. I just formed a new central leader on this tree last year, it's 2nd leaf. The torture never stops.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:11AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


I'm watching my Hunza apricot that i think has this damage. The leaves are dropping, some have yellowed and fallen off, but i'm still seeing small new shoots...lower on the trunk, everything is fine (growing lots of shoots very low)... I don't really care if i lose the tree, so i should just cut it low as possible and then graft it over to Satsuma... The tree of mine is probably 6+ years old.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 10:09AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I just read somewhere that -17F was peach tree killing damage in Michigan this past winter. But can't find that report right now. Lots of areas got that cold.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 11:02AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

After watching my Puget Gold apricot for a few weeks here (i have several stonefruit grafted to it), it looks like a main branch may have been damaged...seeing all the signs (wilting leaves/yellowing/very little growth)...this is a south facing branch...the other 2 main branches look good (lots of growth)... I may have to remove this branch...

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:52AM
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Both my reliance peaches are leafing out so poorly after this winter that I am cutting them down. One was 8 years old and the other 9 years old. I will start over.

The odd thing is that I sell fruit trees at the nursery I work at. Some clients bought Reliance peaches and have them situated close to Lake Michigan (Milwaukee area) and came thru great. Their flowered well. Another client bought one from me 3 years ago and is near where I grow mine and his flowered well. Mine are as good as dead.

Did age of tree have anything to do with it? Not sure.
Another client bought a Contender peach from me two years ago and got a nice crop last September. This year his tree is dead.

I presume some sort of micro-climate or somewhat sheltered areas are the explanation as to why some peach trees lived yet others died around here.

My blackgold sweet cherry looked ok when I pruned in March. The flower buds never opened this spring but it
leafed out nice. I thought I was lucky as at least the tree
survived. Two nights ago I checked on my orchard and found most of the leaves wilting on the cherry and the bark on the branches shriveling up. Cambium no longer green.
Delayed winter injury too?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:23AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

spartan yes that's winter cold injury. The trees can leaf out normally and then collapse in the first heat wave.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Which would be right now.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 2:55PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Yes...that is winter injury.

...i've got good growth on 3 of the 4 main branches (i thought it was 3, buts its 4) coming off the trunk of my Puget Gold (not sure of the rootstock).... The one branch is just not showing anymore new growth and the leaves are yellowing some, drooping ... its weird, because on the main trunk, it has a brand new shoot coming out right below the (what i think) dead/dying branch. \

I also removed a 6+ year old Hunza apricot on Citation...it did have new shoots coming up low on the trunk (not citation, above the graft), but the tree wasn't worth saving in my book so it will be firewood now.

I'm going to be very careful what i put in the ground. I'm starting to wonder if Tomcot is hardy enough for my climate. I removed 2 of those last year (with a milder winter then this past one) showing all these same symptoms.... I think i'll move my apricots into pots.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 5:14PM
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