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Late freeze kills fruit buds

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


— The recent late cold snap could mean less fruit this year.

"If we had a tree or even some sort of small fruit bush that was in flower, it very likely could have killed the fruit buds," said Ward Upham, Kansas State University extension agent in horticulture.

Upham says the recent freezes may have killed fruit buds that already sprouted. Apricots and peaches are most likely to be affected since they bloom earlier than other fruits. To check if your fruit buds survived, pick a bud from the tree and cut it open from the base to the top. If the inside is green, the bud is still healthy. However, if the inside is brown or tan, don't expect it to produce any fruit. Upham suggests pulling 10 to 20 buds off each tree to get a percentage of the amount of fruit damaged.

Fruit buds are usually damaged when it is 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Apricots and peaches aren't the only fruits to be affected by this year's unruly weather.

"We did have some damage from the cold winter temperatures," Upham said. "The fruiting canes of thornless blackberries and raspberries were lost so we won't have fruit from those plants this year."

While the fruit may be lost, the trees will survive so there should be plenty of fruit next year.


Ward Upham

Written by

Lindsey Elliott

At a glance

Horticulturist explains how to check if your fruit buds survived the late burst of cold weather.