This winter was mostly good for fruit growers in my region. Relatively steady cold winter followed by a cool and late spring. My main point of concern was a single very cold night (early morning) when temps seemed to drop to about -13F.
In the 90’s this was about an average low and the varieties I grew then didn’t suffer much damage from such a temp occurring in the middle of winter without preceding unusual warmth. Preceding temps were steadily cold this season. However, I’m growing a lot of varieties now that haven’t much history in the NE and here are my observations.
Desiree is a very early yellow peach of good quality and size for an early, but the tree in my orchard was actually killed as was a Mayfire I planted last year that had grown very well in its first season- dead to the ground. Desirees in other orchards I manage sometimes had all flowers killed, but mine is the only dead one I’ve noticed so far.
Winblo and O’Henry seem to be the only peach varieties with serious flower bud kill- they have enough bloom left to hopefully supply a light crop without any thinning needed.
The latest peach to bloom is Heath Cling with Indian Free coming in second in delayed bloom. Flavor May was the first to bloom and has plenty of flowers.
All of my many nectarines have as many flowers in bloom right now as possible- none show any affect of the low temp night, which surprises me as I’m growing some that are only proven in the West. I seem to have finally figured out how to manage Honey Royale for blossoms instead of wood. Lots of summer pruning of most vigorous shoots seems to have done the trick. Now let’s see if I can actually bet some high, high brix nects from it. Without very high brix its low acid fruit leaves me flat, but when sugar gets into the 20’s it is like a whole nother variety of fruit for me- not better than lower brix types, just very different to my palate.
There is very little gap between J and E plums this season- everything is in hyper-drive because of the late spring and the current summer temps. With all the bees tending trees right now, only the apricot crop may have been damaged by early spring’s cold temps.
Whether there was damage to the ovaries of these ample blooms I see remains to be seen. The bees are certainly not concerned- all the pollen is enough for them.