Northeast weather topic

Now that the rains have come to CA, the topic on that subject has morphed into a general discussion of weather. This seems like a great idea, because everyone likes to talk about the weather and gardeners love to, because so much of their efforts rely on avoiding extreme weather events, especially unusually cold weather in regions not protected from extreme swings like much of CA is.

In the Northeast, our last dip into the extremes occurred in mid-Feb. What made those couple of cold nights extreme was the mild temps preceding them. The contrast in results to the extreme events of preceding years is already apparent. Apricot and the earliest J. plum crops were severely damaged in all but the most favored sites. Everything else seems to have escaped serious consequences.

It is interesting how a sites favorability can vary year to year. I was at a site yesterday that consistently has higher temps in cold events than mine, and yet the early flowering J.plums were hit harder there than on my own site, based on potential crop at the moment. The flower buds must have been just a little further along when those cold Feb nights came. Early Varieties like Elephant Heart and Ozark Premier on this site are fried, while I may have a half decent crop on my own Elephant heart and Satsuma, which looked almost as bad, but had a reasonable amount of late bloom even though most flower buds were destroyed.

Since mid-Feb, temps have been consistently mild here. Knock on wood. Just 3 weeks to go.

That has been nice but with so many days in 40s and 50s there hasn’t been much bee activity. The peaches, plums and plouts that flowered early were poorly pollinated.

Your bees are whimps! Mine have been out in force- as long as temps get into the low '60’s. Honeybees have been absent on some days when flowers have been ready, but others are more than filling the need of pollination- at least in my own orchard. Even on days when nothing else is tending to flowers, my huge population of carpenter bees are making their rounds. I honestly believe that carpenter bees are even more useful than masons because of their ability to fly in breezy conditions. They have a bad rep of tearing up flowers but have always been well behaved here, even in my blueberries.

However, it will be a few more days before I know if their presence creates bountiful plums. I believe there is a lot more to fruit set than just pollination.

I’m intrigued by the idea that soil conditions will affect plant hardiness. Might this explain why some people see freeze damage at higher temps than others?

AGRO-K claims that bad soil conditions can create a situation where nutrient uptake cannot keep up with the plants emerging growth. Supposedly this weakens the pants ability to protect itself from freeze events. KDL is just potassium foliar fertilizer. If this stuff does work as advertised, I would expect it to only work in situations where there is an actual deficiency.

I don’t pay much attention to advertising claims, but I certainly believe soil conditions affect cold hardiness, especially excess water going into dormancy. It is traditional to cut off irrigation in orchards at this time of the year to increase hardiness, although I am unsure of the research. Interesting topic- when I have time I will do some searching… back to spring nursery chores! This site is costing me money!

My neighbor has honey bees but I haven’t seen they around.
Weather timing is so critical. My plums and plouts were flowering when the temperatures were no longer in the 60s and 70s. They were in the low 50s.

In the '50’s blooms should hold a very long time- what dates are you talking about? Maybe on the island it is cooler when warmer here. I suspect your problem might be a lack of adequate native pollinators which tend to fly when the effete Euro bees do not. I’ve seen that fairly often. If you have enough land you can plant a range of nutritious flowering plants where something is in bloom from early spring through most of fall. Plant them food and they will come.

The ocean temperatures keep temps cool in the spring and warmer in the fall and winter.

Here in the northern Midwest it’s a perfect year. I’m going to have to thin more than ever.
Everything is loaded to the gills. About darn time!

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I’m feeling your pain as well!!! It’s a good pain!!!:grinning:

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I know all that thinning is work! I feel like I’m at Weight Watchers!

Yeah, it looks like you had a 9 day stretch of days where it only reached 60 twice from about mid April forward. So do you have a good presence of native pollinators on your property?

My carpenter bees have been out in force for last week to 10 days, they’re very efficient at polinizing my blueberry patch, they seem to also go nuts for my neighbors holly bush.

If you get a chance, figure out how cool it has to be for them to stay “indoors”. I searched for a specific range and all I could find for native pollinators in general is that many fly in cool, wet weather when domestic Euro bees stay in the hive. Nothing specific at all. I’m going to try to figure it out also.

I had a bumblebee working my honeyberry blossoms the other day at 40 degrees

Thanks, that certainly says something. Here the bumbles don’t help at all in my fruit trees. They don’t really show up until later in spring. But if they can cut it at 40 I think others could function fine in the low 50’s.

My weather has consistently been in the upper 40s and low 50s since the Japanese plums started to bloom and we’ve had a string of very wet days with very few pollinators out and about. I think my Euro pears saw some honeybee activity, but otherwise, it’s all wind and native pollinators (relatively few and far between). The one good bit of news is that they’ve changed the projection for sub-freezing temperatures for this weekend and it’s supposed to stay above 40 for the most part. We’ll have some fruit, just a matter of how well the apples and cherries could pollinate in daily rain.

I checked the April history of Long Island City and it wasn’t that cold there- check your history at Weather Underground- I doubt you were that cool, but I don’t know where you are exactly.

Here we are headed for a stretch of cooler weather after a lot of warm days.

1.86’’ of rain expected by tomorrow… Something tells me we will have a very wet growing season this year…

I am a bit worry about my fruit trees that are just starting to bloom right now. The rain would prevent pollinators to do their jobs. Too much rain like what we will have could really ruin potential fruit setting.

I have a couple of apples that I really want to have the fruit (Hoople’s Antique Gold, Rubinett, Ananas). They are either just open or about to). The next week weather is also cold with low below 40. Not pretty.