Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Praise God, Still Some Live Peach Buds

   Most of our peach trees were in full bloom when this latest 4-day period of extreme cold started.  Thankfully, some of our peach varieties still had many flowers in the pink bud stage, not yet opened, which protects the pistil (female part of the flower that produces the fruit) from frost damage.  The cold daytime temperatures have been a blessing, as that greatly slows bud development, so most flowers are still in the same stage they were in 4 days ago.
These 'Blazingstar' peach trees, like most of our peach varieties, were in full bloom on Sat. afternoon, just before temperatures dropped to 23 F on Sun. morning, March 12.
   This past Sunday morning, March 12, was predicted to go down to 29 F, but when I checked our thermometer at 7 a.m. (the coldest time of the day), it read 23 F, and my heart sank.  According to tables in my book, Fruit and Nut Production, based on data from several states' Extension Service, 90% fruit bud kill occurs at 26 F when peach trees are in full bloom, so almost all of the pistils in the open blossoms should have been killed.
   As I sat down to read my Bible as I do each morning during breakfast, I opened to Numbers 17, since I'm reading through the entire Bible in 2017 with my church.  I read how each of the 12 tribes of Israel provided to Moses an almond rod, with the tribe's leader's name on it.  Moses put them in the tent of meeting, and God told him that one rod would spout, the rod of the man He chose to lead the priests.  Numbers 17:8 says that not only did Aaron's rod spout, it also had produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.
   Almonds are closely related to peaches; they are in the same genus, Prunus.  When I went out to check the peach orchard on Sunday afternoon, I was amazed to find quite a few live pistils among the open blossoms, and I praise God for that.  We've had two more killing frosts since then, Tues. morning March 14 (27 F) and this morning, March 15 (25 F), but some flowers are still in the pink bud stage, so should be still alive.
The cluster of 'Glowingstar' flowers in front shows at least 4 live pistils among the open blossoms, and some flowers still in the pink bud stage.  If these pistils are not killed by more frosts over the next 3 weeks, this would be enough fruit set for a good peach crop.
   Pear trees are now in the white bud stage, so have not been hurt yet.  We still have over 3 weeks to go before the average date of the last bud-killing spring frost, so please pray with us that we will have a peach crop and a pear crop this year.
   We still have many apples and pecans for sale.  Just phone 620-597-2450 a day in advance, and leave a message on the answering machine saying your name and the day and approximate time you're coming to get them.  Prices are listed in the previous post.