Northeast Snow and Ice

This has been quite the winter in New England. My semi-dwarf orchard is sitting in 3-4 foot drifts of snow and I cannot get down to prune and the top of the snow is covered in at least two to three inches of ice. No spray, no pruning as of yet. This is the first time in eight years I cannot begin to prune in Feb. Another storm is on the way Sun. and next week I go into Mass. General hosp for open heart surgery. Pruning and spraying will be on hold. Ugh. I really wanted this done! I hope the ice and snow will not hurt my dormant buds. Mrs. G

Mrs. G,

That sounds serious! My thoughts are with you.

I wouldn’t worry about your oil spray too much (As I recall, you spray a dormant oil spray and a dormant leaf curl spray.) I pretty much quit spraying oil several years ago (only do it now on dormant pears) and haven’t noticed any negatives. I believe Scott sprays oil, but he uses pretty much organic controls for his fruits, so I think he likes to really try to stay on top of insects. Since you use synthetics, I would expect your experience to be more like mine (that is, skipping oil sprays won’t hurt your trees).

Even if you got one leaf curl spray on in the fall, that will probably be enough. Sometimes I get a smidgen of leaf curl even though a spray for it, and it doesn’t seem to hurt anything.

Just focus on your recovery and your trees will be fine. I haven’t started pruning anything, except for a few apples and pears, and won’t start really pruning till March or April, and my Spring comes quite a bit earlier than yours.

I feel for you. You all are getting hammered by the winter storms.

Thanks Olpea, it is serious but I’ll get through it, I have fruit trees to take care of!!! We are due for two more storms this week. I don’t know how I’ll handle getting to the orchard by next week. But I will try! I’m not worried about pruning as much as I am spraying. And yes you are right with my spray sched. Oil and copper. Hopfully next monday will be good and sunny. What is sun??? We are getting hammered! Mrs. G

Yes, Mrs.G, two more snow in the next 7 days. It is very bright and sunny where I live but windy and cold. It feels like -20 F.

I do not spray copper until arond bud swell. With the cold weather we have, we have plenty of time.

My thoughts are with you. You will be back in the garden in no time.

Mrs. G, my thoughts will be with you as well. Please keep us informed of your progress.

As long as you can do some work or direct someone else by April your trees can be fine. Late pruning won’t hurt anything except maybe a bit of growth in young apple trees.

At least your husband can’t expect you to shovel snow.

Thanks H-man! I have only 7 young apples (in the ground for four years) and those are manageable. Its the 9-10 footers that have grown three feet in a summer that have to be pruned back. I have a lot of those! A lot to me anyway. Thank goodness my husband has a snow blower! It has serious mileage on it now! Will it be too late to spray my trees in April? More snow Wed. and Sunday. Mrs. G