Protecting Your Fruit Trees from Frost Damage
During the darkest days of winter, while your orchard is dormant, there is
little risk of frost damage to your trees. The biggest danger comes in the
spring when the tree starts to break dormancy. The young leaf buds and shoot
growth can be damaged by extreme cold, and a late frost or snowstorm can mean a
harvest-less year for a tree in bloom. Unfortunately, there is no cure for frost
damage; a tree affected during its spring growth and bloom will have to wait
until the next year to fruit. Prevention is key to protecting your tree from
The first step to preventing frost damage is to select a variety of tree that
is cold hardy and has the correct chill hours for your climate. If your region
typically experiences a late spring frost, select a variety that is additionally
known to have a late bloom time. This will reduce or, if you’re lucky, eliminate
the need to take further steps to protect your tree in the spring.
If your fruit trees are damaged by a late frost, you won’t necessarily lose
your harvest for the year. Apples, pears and peaches can lose up to 90% of their
flower buds without a decrease in harvest. Cherries will have a full harvest
even when subjected to a 50% bud kill.
The exact temperature that causes bud kill will vary by type of fruit,
variety, bud maturity, and length of cold exposure. Most fruit trees in bloom
can withstand temperatures as low as 28°F for 30 minutes, with only 10% bud kill
(and thus no reduction in harvest).
If temperatures are expected to drop too low once your tree begins budding or
blooming, or if sleet or snow is predicted, it’s time to take action. If your
tree is small enough, you can wrap it in frost blanket bags for the duration of
the cold snap. For larger trees, spraying with Frost Shield provides protection
to young leaves and flowers without damaging them or preventing pollination from
For larger trees, you should burn some anti frost candles overnight. Most of
the against spring frost candles we produced will burn more than 8 hours. And
more and more managers of orchard or vineyard buy our against spring frost
candles every year. Looking forward to your orders.