Pluots/plums bloom too early for upstate SC? Zone 7b

Back in 2019 I started planting fruit trees in my 1/4 acre lot. It started with three Korean pear trees and a moonglow pear. Fast forward to now, and my yard has over 100 perennial fruit plants. Most were planted in 2020, and this will be my third observable winter as a gardener.

In my back yard, the trees are fruiting. The pluots and apriums especially decided to set flowers on Feb 10, and now they have small fruit hanging. Last year they bloomed on March 1.

Last year I got about 40 plums from the trees, but they were all lost to pests. That’s ok, because I don’t expect good fruit until a few years pass. But they all survived a 32 degree frost.

But this time it’s different. With small green fruit exposed as the flowers die, I’m worried about the next few weeks. Starting Tuesday we get 3 nights of freezing. 30, 28 and then 33, which may turn to 32. Same a week later. Because of this, I’ve gotten a little down. These trees make up the main structure of my food forest. If I remove them, I’ll be taking a couple years away from the garden.

For the last three years, these trees bloom well before the freezes. I’m tired of the stress, so I’m thinking about pulling them out and replacing them all. I’m starting to feel like the upstate of SC will always give false springs and spring freezes.

I have ordered three trees to replace these with. They are the red haven peach, loring peach and au rosa plum. I read that they bloom late and night avoid these frosts.

So finally, the trees I’m probably taking out:

Flavorosa pluot
Emerald drop pluot
Spring satin pluot
Sweet treat pluerry
Dapple dandy pluot
Summer delight aprium
Flavor delight aprium
Elberta peach
Toka plum
Santa Rosa plum.

Those trees are the ones in question. They’ve been in the ground 2-3 years and are bearing fruit. But if it’s a battle like this every year, I need to go ahead and replace them so I can take advantage of the growing season this year.

Anyone growing these with success? I’m close to Spartanburg. If this is a 1 in 100 winter, I might reconsider. But so far in my few years here these trees bloom too early

I haven’t found many videos on YouTube showing damage from certain temperatures. I know some trees don’t sustain damage until under 28. I will be pushing that line.

I searched a few posts here about pluots in my zone but I didn’t see any about degree of damage vs temps. Just a few about temps down to 22-24

My trees that are still dormant are the pawpaw, persimmon, cherry and apple trees

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From your zip code, you are in South Carolina. Your story reminds me of David’s aka @speedster1 in W. Virginia. I hope he will chime in.

Here is the chart of critical temperature to give you a rough idea.

It is only the estimate. Microclimate where your orchard is plays a role to a freeze or no freeze situation.

Hope those near you will chime in and help you with their experience.


Thank you. I’ve studied that chart extensively in the past but it couldn’t answer questions beyond pollination that I had. I just read some posts about fruits losing hardiness the further they develop. But then there is a YouTube video of a guy exposing his full grown apples to 20 degrees and they survive

I have my trees heavily mulched and they’re healthy. I guess it’s really dependent on the microclimate. But I’m keeping a journal now with all weather data. That way I can always reference the past when I have questions

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Have you read this thread.

What have you given up on? Or plan to give up on in 2019.

Unfortunately, @speedster1 David has not posted much this past year. He probably has a lot of knowlege to share with you.

Feel free to read the thread Tippy linked to. Everything I said and listed in the post pretty much still stands. My zone is more 6a/b and it’s pretty clear to me that apples and pears grow better than anything here. Peaches are okay but pluot and plums are really hit or miss, much like you have observed. I’ve had one bumper crop in 8 years all because the climate conditions were right that particular spring. Pretty sure this one will be a bust as well since my remaining plum/pluots are in bloom. Apricots or any hybrid with apricots just bloom too early. I never had any apricot harvest my entire time growing them. I also stand by my comment regarding sweet cherrys. They are just too disease prone and aren’t as good as the bing type cherrys from the grocery store. Dwarf sour cherries on the other hand have been great.

In the end the biggest thing for me is that I spent so many hours over several years busting my butt and investing a lot of money to come up empty handed. It wore me down and broke my will in a way. I guess not totally since I still have the orchard and still get excited when I have success. I just had to adjust my expectations and grow smarter. But I guess I’d call it a love hate relationship at this point. I am unfortunately not very active here like I used to be. There are so many great people here with so much knowledge. It is a phenomenal resource. I keep telling myself that I need to be more active here to try to contribute more to the community. I’ve certainly benefited a lot from the people here.


I think @rayrose is in South Carolina and to my recollection,gets good crops of some things on your list,like Spring Satin and Santa Rosa.
Something else to try there,may be Pineapple Guava.

You might have some success with some late blooming apricots. I got mine to set this year, but that is because they bloomed during that warm spell in Feb.

I have two pineapple guava in the front yard. They survived 7 degrees unprotected. My pindo palm did not

I have a ton not mentioned to include loquat, grapes, kiwi, fig, blackberry, blueberry, gooseberry, raspberry, seaberry, barberry and I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot

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I feel your pain. I really do. I wish I would have known about this when I started. I do not want to limit myself to apples and pears so I added pawpaw and persimmon. But I really want my peaches and plums

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I’ve got about 8 years experience in 7b, West Georgia, which is very similar to Upstate SC. Most of the plums I grow are Chickasaw hybrids Chickasaw Plum Inventory. I get good crops 75% of the time. My Spring Satin and only other pluot bloom and set fruit at the same time as most of my chickasaw hybrids. They are all just about done blooming and I’m pleased with fruit set so far. This is the earliest they’ve ever bloomed/set fruit and I expect some losses.

Peaches have been more reliable for me. Last year we had a 28 degree low during bloom which wiped out most of the plums. The peaches still set a very big crop that required lots of thinning.

Ayers is my best tasting pear and is just starting to bloom. It has produced reliably every year since it started fruiting.

The apples usually bloom after the spring frosts. Unfortunately they are also the most trouble to manage from a disease and insect pressure standpoint.

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I just grabbed an Ayer’s pear and an Indian blood peach this morning. I just put them in the ground. What late peaches do you use? I ordered a red haven but some websites say it blooms early. I also ordered a loring peach.

If you’ve been doing this for almost a decade and this is the first time you’ve had them bloom so early, I might hold off on tearing them out. But I’ve already ordered their replacements. I’m probably over 60 fruit trees now haha. I told myself I would plant in abundance so I can remove what doesn’t work. But when it’s time to remove it, I just can’t do it.

I thought about grafting but I don’t want to fight the climate anymore. It’s too much stress ya know.

I’m prepared to handle the apple pests with grow bags and tanglefoot. But if the pest pressure remains too bad, they will go. Unless they perform the duty of a trap crop

A bunch of seedlings, from fruit originally grown in the Carolinas and Georgia that I thought was good. I grew out approximately 20 peaches, kept the best, culled the others.


When you said you have 1/4 acre lot, you mean the whole planting area is 1/4 acre, right?

Still. that is not a lot of space for the many trees you grow. I have given up on cramming too many trees in my limited space. Pruning is not my forte. After 4-5 years, those trees are getting taller and wider.

1/4 acre includes the house on the property. It’s a subdivision lot, .27acres.
I’m currently in the process of mapping out the yard and labeling the trees. Many lost the labels a long time ago.

Some of the trees are already touching. They grow so fast that the limbs sag to the ground in heavy rains. I’ve already got new growth on the tips of all my trees but those will be getting three nights of freezing starting Monday.