At what temp do you cover leafed-out fruit trees?

When do you cover leafed-out trees against the cold?

We had a random spring week of 90 degree F (32 C) weather that made my fruit trees break dormancy - leaf and starting to flower. Now we have predicted nights to just above freezing (34 F / 1 C).

Do I cover them all, or wait for actual freezing?

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We just had a dip to 30 a day or two ago. Minimum damage has been done to the leafs or flowers. But my condition was that it was raining/cloudy day/night. If the sky was clear the result may be different


How long is the freezing temp? If it’s a short period in morning, in my experience things are fine.

I’ve hit 20F when some trees have leaves. Some leaves/flower buds were damaged depending on the cultivar and species and how far along the growth was. In mulberry and in one ornamental cherry, it killed all buds, and may have killed the tree to ground. In plums, it made some tender leaves crispy.


I’d not be concerned about the tree at 34 for sure…but if there’s frost, then the blooms that are actually opened my get damaged.


The water content of the air is an important factor. You can get frost damage from evaporative cooling of plant tissues if the dewpoint is well below freezing even if the air temperature is above 32 degrees. If the dewpoint is at or above 32, I wouldn’t worry too much.


Depends on the type of fruit trees. Most apple trees laugh at temps from 28-32.


Also depends on the height of the trees and what your topography is. Here in the piedmont, a few hundred ft can buy you 5 degrees depending on the weather pattern. Also, the temp 15 ft off the ground is considerably different than 1 ft or 2 up.


My fruit trees have all made it so far!!