Inspecting Fruit Buds for Freeze Damage

I inspected peach buds today for damage from the recent plunge. I collected a few shoots from select trees. I let them warmup in a cup of water for at least 6 hours before dissecting. I was looking for a brown spot at the center of the buds, but noticed a brown spot at the base of some of the buds. I’m not sure if it is fatal, but it can’t be good. Most of the pics online don’t show buds cut in a way that would show this region.

Here is pic of one of the buds. The whole bud browned a bit while I was trying to fix my camera. The arrow points to the brown spot at the base. Anyone thoughts about its condition?


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You are in zone 5, I am in zone 7a. In my orchard a couple of weeks ago What I thought was early frost kill, turned out not to be true. The buds, probably due to all of our rain and warmer temps are plumping up. That is not a good sign either, because Ice is on the way. I also saw pussywillows starting to pop today too. :cry:

Chill hours in already? I only have about 500 since the beginning of November. Of course, start time is always questionable to me.

The plunge a few weeks ago went down to -4ºF, which was about 30 degrees below the average low for the previous two weeks. It appears my most cold-sensitive peach, July Elberta, has 40%-50% buds with some level of internal browning. Redhaven and Contender on peach roots were only about 10%-15% browned. Not a single one of the 4 dozen buds from Redhaven on American Plum roots had browning. I bought the July Elberta for $10 thinking that I would graft it over if I didn’t like it. Looks like that will be happening this spring.

Unfortunately, we had enough cold in November in Kentucky for quite a bit of stuff to reach it’s required “chill” hours…with two weeks in the 50’s…and a couple more weeks like that probably in January…who knows if anything will survive until April.