Friday, March 25, 2016

Peach & Pear Crops Survived 4 Frosts

   The peach crop and the pear crop have survived 4 frosts so far, praise God, and we're still praying they'll survive any other frosts yet to come over the next 2 weeks.  This morning it dropped to 26 F again, so many peach flowers and pear flowers were killed, especially those low on the trees.  Some open flowers still have live pistils (the part that produces the fruit), and a few peach flowers and pear flowers are still in the bud stage, where the pistils are protected from frosts, so those should bear fruit.
These Asian pear blooms have many killed pistils, such as all the lowest flowers in the photo, but some flowers still have live pistils.
   Each mature fruit tree produces thousands of flowers, since they bloom early in the season, as insurance against loss of fruits to frost.  So light frosts provide some beneficial fruit thinning, as long as temperatures don't drop to 25 F or below, which can kill all flowers and eliminate the crop.  Each year we have to thin excess fruit to adjust the crop load to the optimum amount that each tree can support, to ensure good fruit size and minimize limb breakage.  During years with no frosts, we have to do a lot more fruit thinning.
These 'China Pearl' peach trees (with pink blooms) ant the pear trees in the background (with white blooms) still have good crops
   Right now it looks like we'll still have a good peach crop and a good pear crop, though we'll probably have fewer of the earliest-ripening peach varieties. The plumcot crop was all killed by frosts, since plumcots bloom very early, and tiny developing fruits are killed by frosts below 28 F.  Apple trees are just starting to bloom now, so the apple crop is in no danger.
   Our workers and I pruned more blackberries this afternoon, and I will be busy pruning peach trees and apple trees all next week.  We still have many 'Enterprise' and 'GoldRush' apples for sale, and cracked 'Kanza' pecans.  Phone 620-597-2450 a day or so ahead, and leave a message on the answering machine saying the day and about what time you're coming.  When I'm pruning the peach and apple orchards, I can't see or hear vehicles come in the driveway, so it's best to call ahead, but if you drop by, ring the bell on the sales building, which I can usually hear.
   Prices for apples, pecans and asparagus are listed in the previous post.  Asparagus should start about April 1 (later than I first thought, as we had cooler weather for awhile) and will be available until late May or early June.