What is mother nature doing? Confusing my fruit trees, that's for sure.
While most fruit buds will tolerate the cold (down to 20F for some), they have a hard time when the temperatures stay that low for a long period of time. However, once they hit the color break stage shown in these first 2 photos, their cold tolerance drops significantly (peach tree is pink, plum is white).
Depending on the type of fruit trees you planted, you may be forced to just suffer a fruit loss because protecting it can be so challenging. I chose semi-dwarf trees so that they would stay a size at which I could easily manage them. It makes putting bird netting, harvesting, pruning, and in the case of this week, applying frost blankets much easier. If you do have full size fruit trees, all hope is not lost. Even at a 90% bud loss, you will still get a decent harvest. In fact, you could think of it like a natural thinning method, which is actually beneficial for fruit development. When the temperatures stay as cold as they have been though, you could lose all of your fruit. There has been a lot of success by constantly spraying cold water onto the trees, though it does not protect below 23-24.
Even with 8 degree frost blankets I still had about 50% loss, especially around the outer edges.
I cut the blankets off this week to find a good majority of flowers remaining. The bees were sure appreciative.
Even though putting the blankets on the trees was a bit of a nightmare (I thought the wind was going to whip me away to Oz), summer peaches will make it worthwhile.
Come on summer, cause I'm sure tired of waiting.
See you next week,