Flower bud fatalities 100% - Stonefruit - Z 5b

Below is the list of the stone fruit varieties that had 100% flower bud loss for me in Z5b (zip code 12470, Purling, NY)


4th of July
Necta Zee Nect
Hardired Nect
Poly White Peach

Santa Rosa
Ozark Premier

All of these did well after last winter when the absolute lowest temps were lower than this year. More support for the idea that temperature ranges and fluctuations,even in the dead of winter, and not just killing spring frosts play an important role in bud survival.

I was ( incorrectly) not that worried about the Feb & March cold spikes because my trees were still dead asleep and the temps did not get lower than last year.


Wow sorry to hear. That’s pretty crazy.


Your trees will produce real well next year.



I’m sorry to hear that. It’s only hit me once in TX when we dropped to -12F in February. Here it’s 99% of the time spring freezes.

How cold did it get last winter?

Same here, zone 5B Worcester, MA. Even more, one of the apricots (Harglow) doesn’t want to leave out normally, half of the branches didn’t put any sings of leaves yet, and it is just 3 yeas old tree that was completely fine after last winter and was growing like crazy all summer long. I actually blame unusual mild winter, trees started to wake up way to early… and 15F in April took hard…


I don’t think it got lower that -8 to -10 at its worst.



It sucks . Apples, pears and cherries seem to be ok. Cherries and some apples and pears are blooming.

We shall see.


Gosh, darn, Michael, very sorry to hear. I think weird temp swings were also to blame for all my cherry set that aborted this year. Zero cherries for me.

Sorry for you loss. At most part of NY, it’s hard to grow stone fruit. All my apricot and peach tree flower buds were dead too. Even we are now listed as zone 6a, it’s still hard to grow stone fruit. Last winter the lowest is -18F, but this year is only - 5F, one of my Asian persimmons survived last year, but is dead this year with protection.

Sorry for the loss. That’s a lot.

I, for one, think that subzero in mid Feb killed my PF 1 tree and killed flower buds of PF 24 C and Autumn Star.

The temp of 12 to 15 F in April, wiped out Satsuma plum buds. I saw a couple of GoldRush flower cluster turned brown, too.

The very cold temp in early April hit my trees at the bad time, indeed.

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Peaches don’t fruit often for me in my climatic situation. An individual peach tree may live 10-15 years on average and have a couple good crops in its lifetime. I just prepare for those potential great years and its worth it, other fruits fill in the meantime…


It’s been terrible for the NE. I feel bad for you guys/gals. I don’t know if anyone has already posted this, but here is an article about it in Growing Produce.

Olpea it is true. I have a couple of branches of Elberta that have quite a few peach flowers still on it. But we also have had 38 degrees at night for the past two nights. My Early Crawford’s are shot along with my long awaited ‘Black Boy’ that was loaded with buds. The buds from those two peach trees alone were dead by Feb. My other peach trees have between four and twenty peaches per tree. The Elberta is one hardy peach here. However on the the flowers/buds on the top branches flowered. I still have no guarantee of fruit. They look promising though. Really bad peach year. And I just ordered three new varieties. Boo :smiling_imp:

Mrs. G,

That is rough from an orchardist perspective! I hope it warms up soon!

In a few years you’re trees will probably be laughing at all the cold weather we get, while they are bathing comfortably in lovely 70 and 80 degree sunshine.

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Mike, also sorry. Can you give us an idea of what type of fluctuation at what time did this? We lost our peaches two years in a row (2013, 2014), due to winter lows below -20F. This year blooms galore on all fruit plants, I am somewhat surprised that MA has lost its crop but colder MI has not.


I am in New York same latitude as the northernmost part of Mass. So my area is colder than zone 6 in MA

Before this winter I believed that I only had to worry about the -15f lows that start seriously killing the fruit buds and the killing spring freezes that come AFTER the trees start to wake up.

This past winter the temps never reached that cold (-15) but the temps fluctuated a great deal but despite the fact that the fluctuations all occurred while the trees were full asleep, buds still were killed 100%. The temps this spring all came while the trees were still fully dormant .

PLEASE NOTE that all of these observations I report here are not based on carefully measured conscious observations. The only thing that I was consciously paying attention to was the low temps to hope that they did not get low enough to kill the buds and I was thrilled that they did not seem to have hit the critical lows. So my focus was on the absolute low temps and I was not much concerned with or paying attention to how high the higher end of the temperature range.

I did not think that some of the mild periods were enough to wake the trees since even when the daytime temps were on the high end, the night time temps always fell back below freezing.

I now have to re-consider my beliefs of the effects of not just the absolute low temps but the overall pattern of the temperature fluctuations throughout the winter season. Ughhh!.

Doesn’t change the fact that the buds are all not-viable.


I have a early elberta that was sent to me in early march from Ga.I’m in N.H 6a I did everything I could do for this poor geographic transplant.I heeled it in a 5 gal.bucket in a flimsy shredding plastic greenhouse through all the frosts and freezes.It’s in flower now in Its permanent spot , as I pluck off the dead flower buds of the other peaches in the yard I think just maybe I get A peach this year .:joy:

My Reliance and Contender peach trees here in Zone 5A Maine have close to zero flower bud loss…go figure.

I had no flower bud loss either, but the ovaries were toast, they all flowered fine, just didn’t set any fruit.

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Mike, I think you are mistaken about the your low winter temp- you may want to look it up in your area. I believe I hit -12 here which WAS about the same as the previous winter’s low and didn’t do any damage to flower buds here that winter. I have only a scattering of peach and nect blossoms that survived this winter.

I noticed that my peach and nect buds were more swollen than usual way before the killing freeze and it is the shuttling of water in and out of buds that determine their level of dormancy and freeze tolerance. I think we paid for the fickle El Nino inspired weather pattern- sudden mild to cold, just as you suggest.

I had completely dormant figs that I pulled out of their unheated structure too early