Slow leaf-out on some fruit trees

steve333_gw(5a)June 17, 2013

It has been a pretty good winter for the orchard, only lost one small tree to gophers, and almost no winter die back on the trees. There is however one thing which I've noticed and been puzzled about: some trees are very slow to leaf out, and when they do, they start slowly with a few branches at the bottom and work their way to the top.

I have seen this with several fruit varieties (apple, pear, plum). The tree just sits there doing nothing while most of its fellow trees have leafed out and are in bloom. Eventually these trees start swelling some buds and slowly over a few weeks leaf out fully and even bloom (the older ones at least).

I am just wondering what significance this may have. The trees are not stunted or damaged in any visible way. And perhaps this is even a useful trait, as it would protect against a late frost if some of the buds were still dormant (hasn't been needed this year but could come in handy).

Anyone have any idea as to what might cause this behavior?

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I get this mostly on Evans cherries, my conclusion to this, winter injuries.

Advantage,...long harvest season.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:17AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I agree, likely winter injury. It's not really a good thing because some of those trees could collapse and die when it turns hot. In the case of this year it might be more aptly named spring injury in your area. Either way too cold at some point and parts of the tree were damaged.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Interesting, and makes sense. Odd though, in that there are none of the usual signs of winter injury, and all the branches eventually leaf out.

I had been hoping it was an adaptation to loosing some leafs/buds to frost in prior years. And perhaps in some sense it is if that reduces the vigor of the tree.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Same thing happened to about 1/2 my Van Cherry trees. Be interesting to see if the slow ones come back 100% next spring. I'll tag the slow ones and then watch how they come back ne3xt spring.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:53AM
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