winter of 2014: what died/survived/thrived?

lsohMay 14, 2014

I am hoping to learn from your experience. Hoping readers will post what weather conditions they experienced this winter and which plants died, survived, or thrived.

Here's my list. I am hoping others will contribute their own.

I live in Northern Ohio, zone 5. For combined cold and snow, I would say this is the worst winter we've had here in decades. We had -20F. We've seen these temperatures before, but it's rare. And unlike our normal winters, it got cold and stayed cold.

Here's my sad inventory
strawberries: AC Wendy, Jewel, Winnona, Stark's Red Giant, Sunset varieties. Roughly less then half survived.

red raspberries:
Prelude canes. Looks like about 1/2 the canes survived.
Carolyn. I had removed all canes after last fall's crop. Quantity and health of new canes look normal.

blueberries: All in pots buried in leaves. Duke, Blue Crop, Chandler, and Aurora looks like minor damage to tips of branches.

cherry trees: All in pots buried in leaves
Black gold (planted last year): dead
Stella Cherry: Tree looks healthy. Buds swelled. But I don't think it will have a single blossom. Looks like this year's crop is a bust.

Castleton Plum Tree: In pot, buried in leaves. Looks healthy. zero blossoms. Crop is a total loss.

Blackberries / crosses: All in pots. Stored in an unheated workshop for the winter. It got cold in there, but no where near -20F.
Triple Crowns: The canes died back about half way.
Thorny Boysenberry: The plant is alive, but the canes are dead

How did your plants do this winter? Thanks.

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

One container blueberry bush in 20 gal container. Thriving past 2 years..............dead as doornail this spring :-(

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:50PM
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2 year old peach trees: Reliance & Intrepid are dead. 1 year old peach trees: madison, veteran, contender, PF24c, blushingstar - all dead. My ground was probably too wet/poorly drained. In the same area I lost a few european plums but more than half of my plums survived. Nearby (but in a little bit higher location), 1 year old cherries all survived and are thriving: blackgold, whitegold, lapins, meteor, mesabi, surecrop, montmorency. All the tarts will have fruit. The blackgold might have a few cherries. Also, I planted a bluebyrd plum, geneva mirabelle plum and 2 surefire cherries after Thanksgiving and they are all thriving(!). I planted these on decent mounds and mulched well. One of the surefires has 3 cherries on it. These trees came from Cummins Nursery. 1 year old currants and honeyberries are also thriving near the location the other trees died. All will have fruit. 2 year-old heritage red, nova red, bristol black and jewel black raspberries seem ok. 2 year old honeycrisp apple thriving with lots of blossoms. Granny Smith apple ok. Yellow delicious apple ok. Most of the trees that died were in a 90â x 50â deer fence enclosure so I decided to till some of that area for a garden and now realize the area was much wetter that I thought. I think the wet soil contributed a lot to the trees dying. IâÂÂm putting in some drainage ditches in the future. When I pulled the trees up they all had some very strong woody roots that seemed like fresh, strong wood BUT the feeder roots were few and far between and seemed like dried out rubber bands. A guy down the street had a 10 year+ old peach tree that was loaded with peaches last year. This tree only recently showed signs of life, but now appears to have lots of green.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:41PM
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Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:45PM
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I'm in Central MA, zone 6a but felt like 5a (or even 4 some nights) this past winter. It got down to -15 to -18 a few times and below zero many times. Very cold for a long time.

The only fruit trees that suffered the most are peaches. Lost flower buds anywhere from 20--80% and some young shoot tips were dead, too.

Well, I had kazake pomegranates in ground with protection but it looked like I did not protect them well enough. It looks quite dead. I forced the zone on them in the worst winter in years so....

All other fruit trees, apples, A. pears, E pears, A plum, cherries (sour and sweet) and blueberries showed little to no damage. Even my strawberries have survived well but it is next to the house so that helped.

I just planted nectarine, A.persimmon, E plum this year so those do not count.

I live in a suburb with houses close to one another and many tall trees all around. That probably help with wind protection and makes my micro climate not as cold and windy as those living in more open areas.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:29PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Interesting that my 4 n 1 pluot tree only 2nd leaf, was the first tree to leaf out. it didn't have any flowers, but I didn't see any buds it's only 2nd leaf. We got down to -14 one night. A total of 13 days below zero. So the pluots are hardy enough for here! I may have other problems with this tree, but cold hardiness is not one of them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 12:42AM
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bonnan(6 & 5)

Isoh.....I have Prelude, Boyne, Caroline and Heritage RR.
50 ft rows each in Mercer County, Western Pa. The Prelude and Boyne on average are what you describe; never have they died back so far. The others were pruned back to ground level in early April.
My 45 apple trees appear OK with about 65% pollinated.
Lucky this spring with no frost.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 9:55PM
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bonnan - my wife is from Fredonia,PA! We're near Youngstown now. When you cut your Heritage and Caroline back in April, when do they start giving fruit? Is one variety earlier than the other? I planted some Caroline this year and was planning on cutting them back every year as well. I planted some honeyberries in the fall and should get to sample some in a few weeks. It sounds like something that might work well for our area. So far, I've had the most luck with tart cherries.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 9:08AM
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Some of our blueberry shrubs had dried out and dead tips this spring, but one shrub was in a location where it got buried in snow in December, and was entirely covered with snow during January and February. This particular shrub had no sign of damage from winter weather, and is loaded with flowers this spring. We had a tough winter here in Madison, WI, with long periods of below average temperatures. However, the slow warming this spring has not caused any problems that I can see-I think the plants like it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 9:42AM
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valgor(4b, WI)

100 miles north of Green Bay, about ten days at -30, I lost track of days -20 or more, and almost every night December thru mid march at least below zero. A rough winter indeed.

Lost two Contender Peach, 2nd leaf.
Lost five Goldrush (a zone 5 apple, I was pushing my luck)
Surprisingly my zone 5 LuckyJon survived without damage.
all of last years growth on 20th Century Asian pear died back.
Southwest injury on both Luscious pears
other apples are looking great: State Fair, Honeycrisp, Honeygold, Wolf River, Frostbite, Northwest Greening, Zestar, Sweet Sixteen, SnowSweet, GIngergold, and Macintosh

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 9:48PM
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Central MN zone 4. Damn cold (below zero days and much colder at nite) for pretty much all of Dec. and Jan.)

lost most or all of 4 year old Van Cherry. Also 2nd year veteran peach. got a few more I'm not sure about.

Winter sucks and bad winters suck even more.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 5:16PM
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Raspberry and blackberry died to the ground for me. Blueberries seem the same. Pawpaws probably, too. young grafted persimmons probably a waste, too. Autumn olive cultivars tops are half to total dead.

Female melon tree maybe died below graft, though male melon tree is budding out all the way to the top, how about that for luck.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
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I did not lose anything, peach, sweet cherry, apricot, magnolia, etc. I did not even consider the southern magnolia until now.

I thought the plants get hardier when they get older, right?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2014 at 2:33PM
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