Strange weather - Will it get our blooms and fruit?

I am doing some restoration work on the old boblo boat and we had to stop work because it was so windy. We couldn’t even walk down the gangway with materials. Wish I would have video taped the Detroit river, massive waves hitting the breakwall.


OK, we expecting another dip in 5-10 F for 3 nights in a row with days way bellow freezing as well. It brings in a question - do I need to bother to spray anything? I do not expect anything to survive this brutal roller coaster. Do you spray anyway?

I am considering a cover for three of my plum and pluot trees. The weather has been good to me as of now but that can change quickly. Some of my pears bloom as early as the plums but I have enough late bloomers that enough usually survive for my personal use.

I think this event is quite a bit worse than last year. We had the Dec. cold blast which heavily thinned a lot of varieties. Now the NWS is predicting 19F for Sun. morning. They just keep lowering their forecast. We have some apples in tight cluster, which will kill them. We only had a few peaches at first bloom yesterday, but there are so many peaches so near first bloom, I’m sure they will start to pop today with the high supposed to be 73F. In a “normal” year these March cold snaps would be nothing to the trees, but this year was so ridiculously early, that the trees are too far along. It only takes 21F to kill just about all the peaches at first bloom, so 19F is plenty cold to do it.

With the wind at least 20 mph tp 50 mph for the past 8-9 days, I don’t bother spraying. I was thinking about another trial of covering them with tarp but we may get snow. Snow on tarp would cause more damage to branches. Last week attempsts of covering with tarp broke several branches with wind gust up to 50 mph.

I am just riding it out, naturally :grin:


Looks like I called it right from the beginning temperatures are going to be 26, 21, 18 for the lows that are coming up. You win some you lose some but I predicted it correctly. Hope everyone else has better luck.


Lows between 14 - 19 for a week. Decided to pot the new nect, which is not dormant, and keep it on the porch with the citrus for a while.

I really want to give it a dose of copper, tho

So, I live in Richmond, VA. Temps are due to drop to the 20s for 3-5 days starting this weekend.

Should I move my container planted blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries back into the garage? All of them, or just the ones that are budding now?

I’ve put my currants and gooseberries in the ground, so no moving them. I think they’re hardy enough to not die, but I’m not sure the new buds won’t freeze. None of my fruit trees from this year and last year are budding yet, so I hope they will be ok. Frankly I’m kind of worried about the apple and cherry I planted last year, though.

Wow, that is cool! Yeah bet the St Clair river was the same way. I have experienced that wind before on the river. You have to bring the family and check out my cottage sometime. Bring your bathing suits. Our beach is private, the water is all from Lake Huron. Be warned people love it or hate it. If you love it you’ll want a place! Well unless you have a place up north. What’s nice is it isn’t far. No super long rides, across from Algonac. The last Sunday in July is our annual picnic, a good time to check it out. You’re invited.

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Are you going to test out the metal drum with burning logs to see if you can save some trees?


The same thing is coming here … 20 21 21 27 22. Also unfortunately the last few days have been warm and stuff advanced. The pome fruits are still mostly OK here but the stones are all at risk. Each cold event hammers more stuff and its going to be pound pound pound pound :grimacing:

Off to Home Depot to refill some propane tanks… I’ll try to do a bit of warming up of stuff to add a few degrees to those numbers.


We burned a lot of small fires last spring to protect against one of the freezes. It takes about two days to haul all the wood and build all the little camp fires throughout the orchard. I thought about it for Saturday, but 19F is pretty cold to try to protect against. Plus I strongly suspect there will be wind with the 19F. It’s been so windy day and night. The fires work best when the nights are still and the heat can raise the orchard a couple degrees. With wind, it just blows all the heat away.

@scottfsmith, did you try Surround to delay your trees? If so, I’m guessing it wasn’t too effective this late since you are still seeing trees progress. Measuring bark temps on my trees over the weekend, there is a pretty large difference between trees in full sun and those that are shaded (~30F when highs were low to mid 60s) so I think it’s worth pursuing. I think I will try diluted white latex paint next year on some of mine after they go dormant to see if I can see a difference.

My guess is it did slow stuff down a bit, but I did it too late as things were already too far advanced. Next year if Feb is getting warm I am going to go full-on with this approach on all the stone fruits.

BTW another way to cool things down could be to wrap the larger branches in alu. foil, that works better than white at reflection. Heat transfer through liquid (sap) is fairly rapid so that could add to the cooling on the buds. It might be worth doing this on part of a tree and see if that part does any better…

I’ve already got fruit started on my Dorsett Golden…This is my earliest fruiting non-citrus…

Scott, at this point are you just trying to save a few of your favorites, or are you flaming all around your orchard to try to save them all?

yeah, having senior moment without sleep this night I was designing a stable cover in my mind… Came to the conclusion nothing will work… But when the cold is over, are you still going to spray or not? I mean dormant oil spray, copper?

I think I’ll try that. I grafted multiple whips with the same nectarine and pluot varieties this year to increase my chances of getting at least one take for each of the varieties. If I get most or all to take, I may have enough to compare white paint and the aluminum foil with some left over as negative controls.

I have no firm plan but the vague plan is to heat up everything that is at risk at least once. In the previous 17F I had many things faring much better than the charts and the flaming may have been why.

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I did this too. Without a control it is really hard to say. I don’t have two of any one variety, except Harrison, which isn’t old enough to have many flowers.

Then it rained like mad and blew like mad with the storm we had on Monday. All my Surround got washed off the trees I did hit. Ugh. 20 mL/gal of NuFilm 17 did nothing to help the Surround stick. It still came off relatively easy. I’m thinking 50 or 100 mL/gallon for the next coat. What the heck. I’ve got a gallon of NuFilm. I might as well use it.

Then its been in the mid-50’s here the last two days, which has things moving some. My Superior plum is somewhere between bud swell and bud burst and Alderman has moved some too. I even have a few buds on Zestar! apple at silver tip or showing some hints of green.