Nail biting time in the northern tiers

My orchard is in Mid-Upper New York ( Z5b) and this is the time of the year when fingernails become nubs.

We are expecting 60 degree daytime temps and with a few warm days in the last couple of weeks, I pray against an early bloom.

The next six weeks till Mid-March (yes I know the last potential freeze is May) are the focus of my trepidation.But, if I make it to the beginning of April I breathe a sigh of relief.



Makes me grateful for our snow cover and sub-freezing temps. Still gotta watch for sunscald, though.

This weather is worrisome! But I’ve resigned myself to accept that I can’t really do anything about it.


Please. What am I missing? There are sprays to protect blossoms. Do they not work? I’ve posted elsewhere about these.

It can easily drop into the teens thru April in my area. A tree in bloom is toast at those temps.

Agree. It’s also impossible to know just when and how cold it willl get, even in a short period of time. Even 1F can make or break a person. We had a freeze last year on May 14 and May 15th…30F and 32F locally…Did much more damage outside my local area where temps dropped even more… the one thing is that areas higher in elevation did much better (cold air drainage)… This early in the season though…areas that are red hot now could be record cold in April… who knows. It’s why i have container trees…i can guarantee something every year…even if they can be a pain to move, store, water, etc.

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Yeah, that one killed me, got to the mid 20’s on May 15th, I lost pretty much everything, apples, peaches, plums, grapes, and even lost half of my strawberry crop. Even my potted trees got zapped as I had already put them out in the orchard which is around back and down a hill, and I was laid out at the time with a terrible attack of rheumatism and did not have it in me to try to save anything. This year will be different

In Michigan we are in the eighth consecutive day of above 50 temps, with three of those days above 60. I am indeed worried.

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The good news is we’ve had a foot of snow on the ground until the last few days (at least in my slice of the HRV) so ground temps should have been at or below freezing until very recently. Snow has an r value of 1, so 12 inches provides quite a bit of insulation.

I’ve noticed the crab apples in NYC break dormancy about two weeks ahead of HRV, and they are still dormant as of today.

Here in Northern VA we just had back to back days of upper 70s… looking at my 10 day forecast Sunday has a high of 49… the only day in the forecast with a high below 50.

I was surprised to see green already showing on several of my trees… I think if this forecast holds true they will be blooming soon.

We are normally at risk of frost until late April…


In Purling I have no snow and I worry about the warm spell.

We have had a bunch of intermittent warm periods and although it has been getting cold overnight, I just hope that the trees haven’t accumulated too much warm-up time.



The sprays offer limited protection.

The farther along the buds are towards waking up the more vulnerable they are to cold temps.

This way too early for 60 degrees for me. If the buds are fooled into opening too soon even a relatively “warm” cold period could cause a lot of damage.

Also, my logistics don’t allow me to spray any bud protectant.


We haven’t been super warm until recently. In the last week, there was one day with a high of 45 and the rest were all in the 50’s and 60’s. Looking at the 10 day forecast, we’ve got 61 tomorrow, then back to the 50’s for a couple days, then back to the low 40’s. So, maybe that will keep things on ice for a bit.

I would really like our new “winters”, if it wasn’t for the late freezes (a particularly bad one in early April last year). Without them, I’d be happy to have spring start now.

One good thing- it looks like my persimmons and muscadines may have survived this winter (hopefully this doesn’t jinx it). The last two years have gotten down to -8F or -10F, but this year stayed positive (+5F). And I don’t see any temps forecast under 25F, though the high teens wouldn’t surprise me. I’m tempted to remove the protection from them and the figs, but I know that would jinx it. :slight_smile:

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