Protecting newly-purchased 'Santa Rosa' plum from frost damage

I just had a potted Santa Rosa plum delivered today that I was planning on planting next week when the weather looks to be improving here in upstate NY (border of 6A/5B).

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the tree appears to have been kept somewhere pretty comfortable as the flower buds are all in advanced stages of development with several blossoms already starting to open.

None of our established stone fruit trees are nearly this far along in bud development, and given that the nighttime lows from now through the weekend are supposed to be hovering around freezing or just below, I’m wondering how best to protect the blossoms/buds on the tree.

I’m assuming it’s risky to try to plant the tree right now given the current weather.
One option I have is to store it in our unheated sunroom where the temperature has been averaging 40-45 degrees, and the tree will be getting plenty of light. Would that be a good idea? And if so, should I just leave it in there all day until the weather improves next week, or should I bring it outside during the day, and only put it in the sunroom overnight?

If there’s any other option that would be even better, I’d love to hear it! Thanks!

A pic may be helpful, plus the coldest temperatures expected in your forecast.

I want to say even in full bloom it’s probably OK to about 28° or so.

Coldest expected temps are 29°F tomorrow night and 28°F on Sunday night. After that, lows are expecte to stay in the upper 30s-to-mid 40’s next week. I’ll post some photos shortly.

Yes, as others have pointed out, the blooms can tolerate up to 28F. But if you leave it in the unheated sunroom, and the temperature is maintained at 40-45, you will have nice fruit sets! So leave it there for a while. until the minimum outside air temperature is above freezing.

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You don’t really want any fruit on a new tree anyway. The leaves can probably take 24F or so, they will take more cold than the blooms. So I would just plant it now and let it start getting adapted to its new home.

By “you don’t really want any fruit on a new tree anyway”, do you mean that it would be better to allow the tree to put all its energy toward root establishment and vegetative growth after being planted?

:+1: :grinning:


Here are a few photos of the current state of the buds:

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