Can’t tell if your fruit buds are alive?


I know it can be difficult at times to tell if your fruit buds are alive or dead after a cold night but here is a document that should help


Interesting to see they say 10% blossom survival is still considered a full crop on apples and pears.


Many people are going to ask what temperature fruit blooms are damaged so here is a chart to show that Many of us are on the line in the Midwest right now. All my full blooms were killed last night.


Sorry to hear that Clark, some freaky weather. I am curious, though, how many of your fruit trees and plants have open blooms, percentage wise? I know you’ve posted lots of pear blooms. Y’all had a long cold winter, and I’m wondering maybe not a lot of stuff has truly come out of dormancy yet.

Here it is in mid April, and my apples have barely started to green up, much less bloom, same with just about everything else. The only trees around here that have fully bloomed here are peaches, and very recently pears and plums.


I’m still in pretty good shape. I lost 100% of the apricots, maybe 50% of the plums, 50% of the peaches, 100% of the nectarines, 10-30% of the pears , 0% of the apples, 0% of the cherries, 0% of the aronia. These are some of my pears


Not a bud near blooming here, and this is SUPPOSED to be the last week of freezing temps

Epitomizes “better late than never”


I wonder just how many hours of each of those temperatures is the threshold.


The healthier the tree the more cold tolerance it has It also depends how much cold there was previously Unfortunately for us we were just 80 degrees before the drop to 25. This is what the fields look like

No specific number of hours is given because there are to many factors but once a tree reaches the 24-25 degree F mark and blooms are open everything changes for the worse. Until those blooms open they are somewhat hardy. They are very vulnerable in this stage shown below where the blossom is actually open. The surrounding blossoms can take just a shade more cold because they are not open. You can see these buds are in full white and first bloom stage which down to 26 or 27 degrees you get a 90% survival rate and 10% death. If they drop down into much lower temperatures (23 degrees F) like last year did those numbers flip and you get 10% survival and 90% fruit loss. I needed 10% thinning anyway but I don’t need 90% thinning.


So, are those stone fruit losses typical for your location? How often do you have an apricot harvest? You’re close to @Olpea, I wonder how his fruit trees did.

Since you had such a brutally cold winter, have you been able to see if all those PA45 blackberries made it okay? Have they and your other BB’s started to green up yet?


Some 45’s are ok I planted last spring. They are sending out small leaves so they are indeed very hardy. The 45’s I planted in the fall will hopefully come back from the roots. The stem is dead. The prime ark freedom are dead to the ground but hopefully will come back from the roots. It was never colder than -10 and I’ve seen -20 before so this winter could have been worse. So far reliance peaches don’t have a single blossom lost. The flat wonderful peaches bloom to early for our area and those blossoms are dead or going to be soon. The 45’s look promising Apricots are a real pain to grow here!


Thank you for posting this information.

I lost all my apricots last year, but I’m hoping enough have come through this year for a decent harvest. I have three trees and at least one looks like it is in pretty good shape.

Also lost most of my pears last year.

I keep checking the weather forecasts.



Clark and I are probably in the same boat.

We have had some really cold weather this spring. The only thing that has helped is that we’ve had really nothing open. When the flowers are closed (pink) they can take an amazing amount of cold weather.

Things changed this last week. We had really warm weather. Two sunny days w/ temps in the low 80s and one day of 75. Plus the nights were warm. Flowers opened very rapidly. We have lots of flowers open. A few trees (like Saturn) have virtually everything open. Most trees have at least 75% open. Last night we got down to 27F here. That’s generally not too bad (although sometimes I have recorded a low of 28F and suffered tremendous losses).

But tonight pretty much all the weather stations are predicting record cold. The coldest temp for April 16th in KC is 28F set in 1921. Tonight all the weather stations are predicting to beat that by several degrees.

The coldest temp predicted is 24F for tomorrow morning. It wouldn’t surprise me. It’s 30 now and supposed to clear off later tonight, which will cause the temps to drop more.

In my notes in 2016 we had some really cold weather at about with the same amount of bloom. It got to 25F with about 1/8" frost on the trees. There was some significant loss, but we still harvested a fair amount of peaches (not great, but not horrible either).

Who knows what will be lost with tomorrow morning’s weather. I’m sure there will be a lot of loss, I just don’t know how much.

Generally you can’t tell how much is lost until the weather warms up a bit. I have celebrated before when we had some really cold weather and the flowers seemed to come through just fine, only to see the same flowers falling off a week later.

After the temps warm a little, you can tear some flowers apart to see if the ovary is alive, which can give some indication, but even then, as Clark’s link showed, if the funiculus is dead the fruit will abort.

I had thought we would dodge the bullet this spring because bloom is so late (compared to the last 3 years) but we never could get out of the cold weather pattern which is bringing the record cold tomorrow morning.


Nothing is even showing pink here, so all buds are intact. My currants are growing leaves, will flower later. Raspberries are getting there. Honyberries too, they actually like colder conditions so no worries there. My figs are outside, but they are dormant, so they are fine too. Looks like the freezing temps are here till Friday night, and then probably done for the season. Too bad I don’t like apricots, bet they fruit well here. Flowers look to me like they won’t open till May here. Maybe around the 7th of May. The cold trend this year is probably the new pattern for some time. I suspect much worse will happen in coming years. The sun ultimately determines our weather and it’s activity is at a 100 year low with the trend lasting as long as 70 years or as short as 11 years. We have no way of knowing. An important time for solar studies as nobody alive has ever seen this pattern. Northern regions feeling the difference the most.


@clarkinks and @Olpea,
Sorry to hear about such a very wide swing of temperature in your areas. If there was any damage, I hope it was only enough that you would not need to thin your fruit.

Per our weather men here, we had the coldest first 10 days of April since 2007. Fortunately, temp prior to and after those 10 days were never that warm and if it was, not more than a day or two. No flowers open yet but apricots are close.

For sure, we are not out of the wood yet.


Almost afraid to ask, but how cold did it get this morning? Like you said, now’s not the time to know how much damage was done, but was curious about the temps.

Was last year the worst as far as losing blooms? I remember you had a lot of zapped blossoms.

I’m also curious if you and other fruit growers have had more losses due to freezes over the last few years compared to say, 10 or more years in the past. I was talking to my bro-in-law last week and asked him the same question, since he’s been here most of his life. He said, no, it would be consistently cold over the winter, and gradually warm up, none of these up and down extremes. Folks could get peaches more often here then they do now.


It got down to 27F this morning. Still a record, but not as cold as some of the weather forecasters were predicting. It did clear off in the night as predicted. But what really prevented temps from dropping even more was the wind. They were predicting the wind would die in the middle of the night, which is very common with these frosts. But, we had a nice 8-10mph wind all night long, and even in the morning when it’s coldest, so prevented the cold from settling.

I’m sure there will be some damage because we were pretty much below freezing for about 36 hours, but the 3 or 4 degrees colder they were predicting can make a huge difference, I think.

I’ve only been harvesting peaches for 10 years (and the first few I wasn’t even selling them, so I can’t say from experience what the spring frosts were like before that )except that I have a friend who has been a peach grower starting sometime around 03 (I think) and he had good luck from all those years except 2007 when everyone in the lower Midwest lost everything.

I’ve talked to a commercial grower who grew for 20 years around Springfield MO (harvested 90 bu./day). He said during those years (my guess from around 1990 to 2010) he had 4 years of full crops, 12 years of partial crops, and 4 years of no crop.

We really have (mainly) two problems here which can claim the crop. One is winter temps low enough to kill fruit buds, and then the spring cold which can frost off flowers. Hail can take the crop (like it did at the orchard in 2014) but that’s actually pretty rare here.

We lost some fruit buds this winter, with a few of the worst varieties blank or almost blank (only probably a dozen trees) but overall really not too bad. Most of the cold just thinned the crop some. This spring weather could have really claimed a lot of crop because a lot of trees are already thinned, plus with so many trees near 100% open blooms, it could have nixed the crop on those as well.

I still don’t know how it will turn out, but I know crop loss from this event could have been a lot worse. Thanks for asking.


I hope somehow forecasts were wrong and exaggerated the cold and am so sorry if they were accurate or wrong the other way. The swings have been radical the last few seasons and I fear this may be the new normal.


Thanks Alan. I think I slipped my reply in while you were typing.