Unusual effects of our very low chill winter in the west

We have had rwo very low chill winters in a row here in Arizona and California and of course there have been some strange conciquences with our fruit trees. This dormant season was more severe than the previous due to a very early warm up about 5-6 weeks earlier than normal. Apricots bloomed about 50% of thier total boom in a compact manner but them opened the last 50% over weeks and didnt set many. True low chillers seemed to fair far better in having a nice compact bloom and setting well. Minne Royal and Royal Lee cherries came out together and had a nice compact bloom and set well. Other slightly higher chill cherries have been blooming on and off for nearly 4 weeks… Peaches have been the strangest effected. They are having a massively extended bloom. Babcock in particular has been blooming and setting fruit now for 4 weeks. Its still opening flowers and setting new fruit even with old set fruit now sizing up to be nearly 1" in diameter. And it looks like its going to continue to bloom for at least a few more weeks. A 6 week harvest window off the same tree is just weird. And not particularly desireable because we must net here and keeping a net on for 6 weeks aint fun.

Heres to hoping that we get back to normal winters soon.

Extended bloom and late, weak foliage development are typical of lack of chilling. It’s most noticeable here on apple. Ginger Gold blooms almost until the fruit starts to ripen.

On peach fruit quality can suffer quite a bit. The fruit can have pronounced tips. Harvest may not be as extended as you expect but I could be wrong there.

Ditto here what Eric and Steven said, but still very, very poor fruit set on my MR an RL, despite massive bloom set, and about 50% cross-over bloom times.

Well I guess when I sais that MR RL “set well” what I really should have said is that they set FAR better than last year (3 cherries total off 4 trees). This year we have about 50-60 between them. No where close to where it should be but I atribute it to tree maturity rather than the lack of chill. They are in their 3 rd season now and finally this year did get it completely together on bloom timing. I expect the fruit set to keep getting better as the years go on.

But any cherries produced in Phoenix Arizona is quite the coup!

Guess I should get MR and RL just to compare to high chill sweet cherries. I’ve struggled to get good set on what I have even with 1300 Utah hrs. So it’s not a chill issue. I’m hoping it’s caused by the water deficit I run all summer because I can correct that where needed by doubling up on irrigation frequency.

If you do id highly recommend Z-Dwarf/newroot1/3CR178 as understock. Its proven to be highly adaptable here due to its plum/cherry genes.

One of the other real loosers this season has been our 3 in 1 pulot. Dapple Dandy, Flavor Supreme, and one other that I cant recall. Large tree in its 4th leaf and it set a grand total of 3 fruit. Its getting the axe. Might replace it with Flavor Grenade (which I have elsewhere in the property and did set well) or in disgust I may go away from pluots altogether. I pretty burnt out of them, I dont enjoy them enough for all this trouble.

At last one problem I’ll never have! It’s about time! Of course I have all the others, but nice to know I never have to worry about chill.
Sorry to hear about the troubles. Hopefully more normal patterns will emerge in the future.
I had bud damage due to being too cold. I hope that some somehow survived. The pluot looks to have the least bud damage. it may actually fruit. Buds are just swelling, I can’t tell what kind of buds. I’ll know soon.

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Here in Santa Cruz the blooming is irregular and extended on my Gravenstein apple and Winter Nelis pear–both of which would prefer higher chill than we get even “normally”. The bloom has been extended on my peaches too, but the older one has set fruit for every single bloom, whereas my apricot had maybe ten blooms and five fruits set. Sigh.

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That’s what ‘Babcock’ does normally. ‘Flavor Grenade’ pluot trickles in fruit as well. Probably frustrating to commercial growers, but really a great thing for us door yard folks.

I haven’t planted many things that are marginal for my locale. It would be bad planning on my part had I done so. All things considered I can’t say that I notice any unusual effects this year. Seems pretty normal. Got a bit more rain though.