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 Lovely May 2nd frost 
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Lovely May 2nd frost
Last night we seemed to have had a good frost in the areas sourth of Portland, OR. Not enough to freeze any standing water like in the birdbath, but enough to put a layer of frost across the lawns and rooftops. I think it was colder last night than any night in April.

I fear my sweet cherry trees' new growth has been killed as it feels a bit stiff and leathery between my fingers this morning. Very disappointing after pruning so carefully and successfully obtaining the exact branching I had aimed for. I wouldn't mind losing this year's cherry crop but I think I've lost more than that. Or is the new growth on cherries hardy enough to stand up to this cold?

Anybody else expecting any damage from this? Figs perhaps? Or am I overreacting?


Tue May 02, 2006 8:14 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1166
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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We didn't get the lawn frost, but there was a frost coating on our composition roof... For once, the hype of the weather guy was justified. I set up two 'clamp-lamps' in my Kiwi trellis; their leaves are further along than anything, quite succulent, and very susceptible to hard frosts... This was the first time I'd done that with them; just aimed the lamps at the ground, and hung them at the top corner of the prevailing air drainage --- then hoped for the best. I'll be watching for frost-burn and leaf die-back, but feel we 'dodged the bullet' around here.

I think cherry leaves are pretty hardy, and their crop should be far enough along to withstand 'some frost.'

...Speaking of kiwi's --- I just finished eating my last 3 this morning ... what an excellent fruit; and if the frost does bite them, they'll recover!

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Tue May 02, 2006 10:16 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1166
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Thought I'd follow-up with a little frost damage report --- there was no damage (around here)! In fact, everything's looking to be set pretty heavy... Just as I'd 'feared,' after the worst production year I could remember, here comes a heavy set of everything. And if you don't read any further --- don't forget to thin!

I've such a menagerie of fruit, I don't count on any one type for production; something always comes through. Last season it was my Kiwi's, which, if I haven't mentioned elsewhere, lasted into this [May] month! But there are two trees I'm very excited about this season:

A "Peach Plum," supposedly an old local variety that "everyone" once had. Isolated from my main orchard, I've had it for over 10 years, watched if flower every year, but have NEVER gotten a single fruit from it! -- I don't even know what they look, or taste like?! I'd grafted another plum variety to it about 4 or 5 years ago, as a pollinator - but it still wouldn't produce. This spring I grafted a handful of two more plum varieties on as pollinators, and they're looking good. But best of all - the tree's loaded with its own fruit - FINALLY!

Secondly, I've had a "Burbank Red Ace" for nearly as long as that Peach Plum (several acres apart), originally bought to pollinate an "Ozark Premier" plum (since removed). One year the Red Ace fruited, and they were excellent. Though last year was a bust ... it, too, has set heavy this spring. I can hardly wait for both!

With apples to juice, figs to dry, pears for the deer, and plums for me --- we're off to a good year :D

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Fri May 26, 2006 4:53 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
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I had no damage either on May 2nd or May 9th, even though the leaves on my cherry felt like they were frozen. Things must be hardier than I thought.
It seems to have been a very good year for fruit set.
Apples - outrageous set
Pears - good set
Cherries - good set
Peaches - good set
European plums - good set
Asiam plums - the usual almost nothing set


Sat May 27, 2006 12:44 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
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I had 4 straight hard frosts in early May. I lost almost all my blossoms. My Liberty apples have some and the gravenstein has a dozen apples but thats all I get this year. I do have an interesting thing happening though. My valor plum was just breaking into a good bloom when the frosts hit. One night was down to 25. Anyway, as expected, all the blossoms turned brown. But a couple nights ago I was out checking the trees and I saw new blossoms coming. This will be the second blossoming for this tree this year. Too bad a pollinator variety didn't do the same. Has anyone ever seen this before. It will be another good blossoming it appears.

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Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:11 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1166
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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"Thought I'd follow-up" again... Remember that "Peach Plum" (above), it's still got some fruit, which it never had before, but the vast majority fell off a month ago. The new grafts are doing well, and should eventually provide some dependable pollination to bring it to fruition. At least I've finally got a handfull of this old local variety to try --- though the 'bugs' have found them too...

Secondly; that "Burbank Red Ace," that had apparently set so well, has pooped out too... I can't understand it? It had what appeared to be lots of pollinated fruit, swelling by the day. Some faster and 'fatter' than others, then, while I wasn't watching, they all dropped? I can't find one piece of fruit on that entire tree --- the 10th barren year of 11 -- and I can only stand such a lack of production for soooo long. I could research and graft on another pollinating variety ... or, fire up my chainsaw and 'start over'...? Excellent fruit but once a decade is not worth pruning, or dodging with the lawnmower. Any suggestions?

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Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:42 am
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 138
Location: Canby, OR Z8
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I usually suggest getting rid of nonproductive trees, I definately have some of my own that need to be dug out and replaced with a better variety. Hope springs eternal, as they say.
With plums or cherries dropping so much fruit so late it makes me suspect cold damage to their stems. The fruit stems may have been damaged by the April/May frosts we had, which could cause the fruit to develop to half-size and then just fall off. Just a possibility.


Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:13 am
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