3 Ways Apricots & Plums can COPE with Late Frosts (2023)


Late frosts are always a pain to deal with when growing plums and apricots. They bloom at an early date. Combined with a frost we end up losing that years' crop. See the 3 ways these fruit trees can cope with a late frost.

Zone 7A - Greater Philadelphia
Website & Blog: www.figboss.com/
The Fruit Talk! Podcast: anchor.fm/rossraddi
Social Media:

Support My Work!
Become a Patron: www.patreon.com/rossraddi
Consulting Services: www.figboss.com/consulting
One Time Donations: www.paypal.com/paypalme/rossraddi

Our Shop!
Cuttings & Plants for Sale: www.figbid.com/Browse
Products I use to Grow Food: www.amazon.com/shop/rossraddi

Other important links:
The Ever-expanding Fruit Growing Spreadsheet: goo.gl/X6ye9e
Growing Fruit Trees Community: growingfruit.org/
2018 Fig Variety Album: photos.app.goo.gl/a9MLNYaf3pqxNU7p9
2019 Fig Variety Album: photos.app.goo.gl/bSFfDZnVuwSeZ9Bi8


All right everybody, this is ross.

I wanted to talk to you guys about the stone fruits that we actually talked about in a video in late march.

If you guys remember, in late march, we had those really cold nights, those three nights in a row for most of us in the northeast.

We were going to see temperatures in the low 20s, even maybe lower, depending on where you guys live here.

I saw 20 degrees, then 21 degrees and then 22 degrees, and that's pretty abrupt and extreme for these apricots plums and pluts that we looked at because these are the trees on the property out of all the fruit trees, all the fruiting plants, the vines, the shrubs all that stuff that I grow.

These are the things that flower first and the flowers turn into fruits.

So if the flowers are open- and especially this apricot here was totally in full bloom and that winter low I mean it was really the springtime at that point, but that 20 degree low comes in that's way too extreme for something like this apricot and we were very concerned a lot of us.

You guys in the in the channel in the comments were all very concerned that I was going to lose all of my apricots.

You guys were concerned for your own trees and I did an update video after that we talked about how actually the plums, the pluts, and even this apricot got through that whole thing and actually have some fruit on them.

Now the the fruits are a bit more progressed.

I want to talk to you guys and show you some of the fruits and actually talk about what happened and kind of there's even a plus side, to this whole thing that uh we saw late in late march, but also to talk about the form, because, if you guys recall this is also the dave wilson nursery style of planting that I have or one of like three or four plantings.

I have on the property guys in that manner, and we talked about how I'd, rather just have one fruit tree right in the center and graft multiple varieties onto it, and one of the things we mentioned, though, if you're going to do this is that imagine that all the trees in here are the different scaffolds.

They are the different limbs of the tree or one single tree, because that's kind of what this is, even though there are multiple trees planted in the same hole in very close proximity.

They're all.

Basically, as I said, the growth where the sun hits the trees, the tree naturally thinks oh well, you know what the sun's there, why not actually put out some growth, let's make use of that space and that's typically what the trees do is that after they start to uh, get pruned as well.

They hormones change in the trees, and you can see where I made some of these cuts and then all these growth points now start to form all along the tree.

Here's a good example over here.

The same exact thing happened.

I came right into the center of this tree and knocked off a lot of these branches, so I just came in here and stripped these off.

Just like you see, and that's kind of kind of give us a little bit of a head start on keeping the center open with the light the airflow, giving us better fruit quality same thing over here with with this satsuma plum, we're just going to come in here and remove some of this new growth, which I've already done for the most part, look at those ladybugs they're after the aphids guys they're after the aphids.

So I want to show you now the fruits on these trees, because there's quite a bit, especially on this apricot.

I was really not too happy because I really wanted to see about 50 or so fruits this year, and I thought that winter low or that spring low that we saw of 20 degrees was enough to really damage a lot of the fruits and that I wouldn't even get to get to 50.

But I actually counted the number of fruits on here and there is actually roughly 50 very, very close.

It's like 47., which is pretty good for this tree, because last year I only really got about 25 or so apricots on this tree, they're still very young.

You know these trees are still not as established as I would like them to be, but 25 was a pretty good number last year and I really wanted to double that this this this season and I think we're going to do that just about we're getting really close.

So it's pretty amazing and what was even interesting to see.

Actually after we saw that low after a lot of the flowers had gotten damaged.

Look at that right.

There is a flower, so the tree is not they recognize this.

I think this is not normal for them to bloom this late in the season like that, but uh.

Certainly the tree, I think, has recognized that normally, maybe even even if the whole thing got damaged with that cold and we lost all the flowers, I would see a lot more flowers.

Potentially, there was about two or three that I saw on this tree so pretty darn interesting and that some varieties will actually re-bloom.

The other thing that can happen is that, on this plut as an example, we had many many more flowers than the fruits that you see here on these trees.

However, there's quite a bit, you know this is definitely something like right here is just three plums right here is two plums.

You know um over here is probably 15 plums right in this little section.

So the nice thing about this particular variety and this other plut next to it, is that they actually bloomed in succession and that, depending on the stage of bloom, that the blooms were in well, those got damaged that were fully open.

Just like that apricot flower that we looked at over there, that is, when subjected to a much lower temperature, can be damaged, um or a higher temperature.

Excuse me, whereas, if the flowers are just not as open they're, not as far along in their progression well, they can withstand colder temperatures and that's exactly what happened here on these trees.

They withstood that 20 degree low, and I have a really good crop of pluts this year on these two varieties.

I think I have flavor grenade and um flavor king.

If I'm not mistaken, let's see within that this one here, flavor grenade and the other one here, the tags somewhere else not exactly sure how to check my records.

The other nice thing actually so there's three options right is that maybe the tree reblooms, maybe the tree, is in a different succession of blooming.

The other option actually is to have a late blooming plum, and this is a prune plum here.

It's called italian prune plum and this tree really didn't get hit at all by that cold, because the blo, the flowers really hadn't, even shown at that point, so pretty amazing stuff that you can have all these different varieties.

That's why we've mentioned in the past diversity, not just diversity among species, but diversity among the species itself and having different varieties right, there's so much genetic diversity out there between even just plums or apricots that it's it's pretty amazing guys.

So that's the story here, that's what I wanted to show you guys this little plot update you guys on that.

I didn't want to just forget about it and then never come back to this whole thing.

I'll talk about the fruits as they ripen.

Hopefully we can keep this disease free.

That's really the only thing at this point.

We have to do stay ahead on the summer or keep up on our summer pruning, keep everything with good air flow and good light in there and hopefully fingers crossed.

We won't get diseased thanks guys for watching hit that subscribe.

Button, we'll see you for the next one.


How do you protect apricot trees from frost? ›

Use a cloth or burlap to cover the tree and trap in warm air. Be sure to completely cover the tree and extend fully down to the ground to provide adequate protection. You also don't want your material sticking to blooms, this could cause even more damage. Stakes can be used for support.

Can apricot blossoms survive frost? ›

If a mid-winter thaw occurs, with temperatures getting up into the 50s F for more than a few days, the flower buds of apricots will de-harden. If temperatures drop below zero soon thereafter, the percent of killed flower buds will rise from none at 0F to 100% at -12F.

What temperature will freeze apricot blossoms? ›

At or near the bloom stage, the critical temperature is the same for almost all fruits and flowers. Freezing temperatures of 28 degrees Fahrenheit will result in about a 10 percent loss and 24 F in a 90 percent loss.

How cold hardy are apricots? ›

Most apricot trees are hardy to USDA Zones 5-8 but will fail to set fruit if exposed to a late frost. Before you decide on the best variety for your home orchard, it will be helpful to take a crash course in how to grow apricot trees in cold, northern regions.

What is the best way to protect fruit trees in winter? ›

One way to prepare fruit trees for winter is by mulching your tree with straw or wood chips. This extra layer of organic matter helps insulate your fruit tree's roots, protecting them from freezing during the winter. Frozen roots die and can no longer supply water and nutrients to the tree.

How do you protect fruit trees from frost with water? ›

The use of sprinklers or heaters adds heat. Over-tree sprinkler systems can provide the highest level of protection, Evans said. The key to using water is to continually use it to form clear ice. Clear ice means that an endothermic reaction is taking place and the warmth of the plant is being trapped inside it.

Can plums survive frost? ›

Just because apples, plums, and pears are at the bottom of the list doesn't mean they can't get frost damage. They most definitely can.

Can plum trees tolerate frost? ›

Fruit Trees That Survive Freezing Temperatures

Several types of fruit trees are acclimatized to local weather conditions and can survive freezing temperatures. A properly cared for apple tree thrives in a cold climate, and plum trees are one of the best fruit trees to grow in a colder region.

Are plum trees frost tolerant? ›

These Apple, Cherry, Peach, Plum, Apricot, Nectarine, Pear, Asian Pear, Almond, and Walnut trees can be expected to grow and thrive in climates rated as being within USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 4. These cold hardy and resilient fruit trees are known to withstand temperatures down to -30° F / -35° C!

How do you prepare apricots for freezing? ›

How to Freeze Apricots
  1. Prepare. Wash, dry, remove pits and cut into desired size. Place on sheet pan and leave in freezer until completely frozen.
  2. Transfer to a Freezer Zipper bag or FreezerWare™.
  3. Remove as much air as possible if using bags and seal. Place in the deepest part of the freezer.

Can apricots survive winter? ›

Apricots are best suited to climates with consistently cold winters and short dry springs. A short period in winter with daytime temperatures in the high 40's or low 50's (which happens most winters) can cause Apricots to break dormancy and come into bloom.

Do apricots freeze well? ›

Yes, you can freeze apricots. Start by cleaning, coring, and slicing the apricots into manageable chunks. Lay out the apricot chunks on a sheet pan and freeze until solid. Then, transfer the frozen apricot chunks to an airtight container, and return to the freezer.

What is the most cold hardy apricot? ›

Harlayne is an excellent choice for a low-maintenance, cold-hardy apricot. It is productive, cold hardy to -34 (the most winter-hardy of the Harrow Series), late blooming, and late harvest (about 17 days after Harcot). It is resistant to brown rot, perennial canker, and bacterial spot.

How do you prune apricot trees in the winter? ›

Pruning apricot trees

Cut them back entirely to an upright growing branch; do not head them. Remove shoots from the center of the tree and cut out interfering limbs and dead and diseased wood. In wet winter areas, apricots should be pruned in late August to allow time for the pruning wounds to close.

Where are apricots grown in the USA? ›

Today, nearly 75 percent of the apricots grown in the United States come from California. The remainder largely comes from Washington, with less than 1 percent from Utah. Total U.S. apricot production was 41,740 tons in 2021 with a value of $37 million.

How do you winterize a plum tree? ›

Winterizing Fruit Trees
  1. Mulching fruit trees with a thick layer of organic material will protect the roots from severe cold weather. ...
  2. Wood chips are a valuable source of high-carbon mulch and minerals. ...
  3. Straw is also a valuable source of high-carbon mulch.
Jan 15, 2021

Should I water my fruit trees before a freeze? ›

It is also recommended to water trees before a potential freeze because water gives off heat and helps protect the trees. But if a severe freeze is expected, make sure the soil has good drainage and run a sprinkler slowly or furrow-irrigate through the night.

Where do plums grow best? ›

Plums grow best in full sun on well-drained soils. American and European varieties tend to tolerate heavy clay soils better than the Japanese varieties. Plant on a south-facing slope unless you have late spring frosts. Then, it's best to plant on a north-facing slope to delay blooming in spring.

Why do they spray water on fruit trees before a frost? ›

So, when a freeze is forecast for a citrus farm, the farmers often spray the trees with water. When the temperature drops, this water freezes and releases heat to its environment, some of which is the still-ripening fruit. This heat is enough to preserve the fruit inside from freezing.

Will watering help prevent frost? ›

Water acts as an insulator. Plant cells that are plump with water will be stronger against cold damage. Likewise, moist soil will tend to stay warmer than dry soil, so a regular watering schedule in dry, cold weather can help protect plants from freezing temperatures.

What are the three types of frost protection? ›

Active FP methods are mainly of three types, (1) irrigation (2) heat application, and (3) mixing of the air.

How do you prepare plums for freezing? ›

How to Freeze Plums
  1. Halve and pit however many plums you want to freeze. ...
  2. Cut the plums into wedges or whatever shape you will want for later. ...
  3. Lay the peeled and cut plums on baking sheets in a single layer. ...
  4. Put the trays in a freezer until the plums are frozen through.
Sep 17, 2020

How do you keep plums fresh longer? ›

Whole plums should be stored at room temperature until ripened. Once ripe, the plums can be kept whole in a bowl in the refrigerator and covered with Glad® Press n' Seal wrap. Or, to store cut plums, remove pits and cut fruit into chunks or wedges of desired size.

What do plum trees need to survive? ›

Plums prefer slightly acid soil (pH 6.0-6.8) and thrive in lightweight loamy, well-draining soil. Plum trees grow and produce the best fruit in well-drained but moist fertile soil that is rich in organic matter, but tolerate a wide range of soils as long as water and nutrients are not limiting and soil pH is adequate.

Can fruit survive frost? ›

Fruit tree hardiness runs the gamut depending on the variety. Most tropical trees will not withstand frost, while many pomes and stone fruits like cherries have quite a bit of ability to withstand cold temperatures. It is important to select tree species that are hardy to the gardener's zone.

How does frost affect fruit trees? ›

Freezing temperatures don't harm dormant plants. In some years, warm late winter temperatures can cause some fruit trees to break bud, leaf-out, or develop flower buds earlier than normal. The inevitable below-freezing temperatures that follow in early spring, however, can damage new spring growth, especially flowers.

Do plums grow in winter? ›

Plums. Most types of plum trees are typically ready to harvest between late spring and fall, but the European variant can bear fruit into the early winter.

How cold can fruit trees tolerate? ›

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).

How long can apricots be frozen? ›

When properly stored, frozen apricots last up to 12 months in the freezer. However, to enjoy optimal taste, I like to use them before 3-6 months have passed.

How do you keep apricots from spoiling? ›

They should be stored at room temperature, away from sunlight and heat until they give softly to the touch and have a sweet aroma. Once ripe, refrigerate apricots as necessary to prevent spoiling, but cold temperatures may change their texture and taste.

Can you freeze apricots without sugar? ›

Pack puree in a freezer container leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Place a piece of freezer wrap over the top of puree to prevent discoloration. Seal, label and freeze. Fruit may also be packed with no sugar added.

Do I have to peel apricots before freezing? ›

You don't need to slice your apricots first, instead, you can wash and dry them and pop them in a bag straight in the freezer. They don't even need to be peeled – they freeze just as well with their skins still on. They will take longer to freeze and defrost as a whole fruit so it's important to bear this in mind.

Should I peel apricots before freezing? ›

Freezing apricots is straightforward. You can freeze them with or without the skin, so whether you peel them in advance is up to you. It shouldn't affect the taste or texture either way, so peel or don't peel; the choice is yours!

What fruit survives winter? ›

Some of the best winter fruits are persimmons, pomegranates, crabapples, apples, cherries, raspberries, citrus, and strawberries. HGTV encourages us to think of winter fruits as more than just what we can eat and consider a range of fruits that last through the season and provide food for our animal friends.

Can I freeze dry apricots? ›

Fruits such as dried apricots, prunes, and raisins will keep at top quality in the pantry for six months. After opening, you may wish to store them tightly sealed in the refrigerator to preserve the quality for up to six additional months or freeze them for one month.

Should apricots be refrigerated? ›

Ripe apricots need to be stored in a refrigerator and will last up to a week. Apricots will not continue to ripen in the fridge, so make sure they are fully ripe before chilling. Overripe apricots won't last long, even if refrigerated. If your apricots are bruised, mushy, or otherwise damaged, don't worry!

Which apricot is the sweetest? ›

Moorpark trees grow the largest and sweetest apricots known today! Exceptionally sweet, delicious, and classic apricot flavor of the same quality as Blenheim! Moorpark is a hardy and resilient cultivar that protects its delicate blossoms from unpredictable spring weather.

Where is the best apricot in the world? ›

Malatya Kayısısı

Apricot orchards are a trademark of the Malatya province in Eastern Anatolia. Being the world's leading apricot producer, the province supplies fresh and dried apricots throughout the country, exporting a vast amount of its produce.

What is the most hardy fruit? ›

Apples and hybrid plums are the most winter hardy and can be grown in most locations. Peaches, cherries, pears, Japanese plums, and apricots are better adapted to southern and coastal areas, but have been known to survive in colder locations under the right conditions.

What month do you prune apricot trees? ›

The optimum time of year to prune fruit trees is the dormant season, December, January (best) and until the middle of February, but note summer schedule for Apricots.

How many times a year do apricot trees produce fruit? ›

Depending on the variety, apricot growers start harvesting fruits from late spring to early autumn. To pick the fruits from the whole field, the grower may need to harvest on average 2-5 times per season.

Which state has the best apricots? ›

California grows the most apricots

California is the top apricot-producing state in the U.S., per Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

What state grows the most apricots? ›

Today, over 94 percent of the apricots grown in the United States come from California, where the first major crop of apricots was recorded in 1792 in an area south of San Francisco.

What is the best apricot in the US? ›

Blenheim is considered to be the most flavorful, best tasting apricot in production. The fruit is medium to large, yellow with orange cheek and firm, juicy, pale orange flesh and delicious flavor.

At what temperature should you cover fruit trees? ›

At what temperature should you cover fruit trees? Plan to cover your tree whenever the temperature is expected to drop below 32 degrees F.

Can apricot trees survive winter? ›

They love warm weather but also winters that are cold enough to tide them into dormancy. To fruit, apricot trees need a few hundred chill hours during winter, at temperatures between 32F and 45F. They can be damaged by temperatures below freezing or by significant, consistent exposure to frost.

What is the best time to spray apricot trees? ›

When to Spray Apricot Trees
  • Dormant Season (late winter/early spring, before bud break)
  • Growing Season – Bud Break (emergence of new growth)
  • Growing Season – After Blossom (after petals drop*)

Can fruit trees survive a freeze? ›

Answer: Freezing temperatures don't harm dormant plants. In some years, warm late winter temperatures can cause some fruit trees to break bud, leaf-out, or develop flower buds earlier than normal.

Should I wrap my fruit trees? ›

Protect All Fruit Trees Against Frost Cracking

This causes unsightly trunk cracking that hurt the tree's ability to take up moisture and nutrients and leaves an opening for insects. Protect the bark with tree wrap and remove the wrap in spring after the last frost.

What fruit trees need frost protection? ›

The hierarchy of frost-sensitive fruit trees is:
  • almonds and apricots are the most frost-sensitive, then.
  • cherries (except they flower quite late, so there's a better chance the frost risk will have passed)
  • peaches and nectarines,
  • apples,
  • plums, and.
  • pears.
May 26, 2023

What time of year do you prune apricot trees? ›

Late winter and early spring are the ideal times to prune the apricot tree to shape the tree – there is less sap flow, less disease pressure, and new buds/branches will develop more readily in the upcoming growing season. Additionally, it's easier to see all the branches with no leaves in the way!

What conditions do apricot trees like? ›

Apricot trees require sun to flower correctly. Rich and well-drained soil will increase apricot harvest. Apricot trees don't do well in waterlogged and excessively moist soil. It is much better to plant in a location that is sheltered from strong wind.

How long do plum trees live? ›

Plum | 10-25 years*

Plum trees are extremely susceptible to fungal pathogens when grown in a poorly drained location. If planting in heavy clay, improve the drainage by sculpting the soil into a broad, gently tapered mound that rises about 12 inches above the surrounding grade.

Is Plum a winter fruit? ›

09/9​Plum. Also known as aloo bukhara, plum is another winter special fruit which is a bonus for your immune system.

What killed my apricot tree? ›

A frequent cause of this kind of apricot decline is armillaria root rot, which is also known as oak root fungus. Apricot trees affected with this disease show a general decline in vigor a year or two before the whole tree collapses.

How long do apricot trees last? ›

Apricot trees are perennials, meaning that they can live for very long periods of time; apricots usually live between 40 and 150 years.

How do I protect my apricots from bugs? ›

One of the best ways to get rid of sap-feeding insects on your apricot tree is to apply neem oil and horticultural oil every week for the growing season after you first spot the insects. Insecticidal soap works well against certain sap-feeding insects, including aphids and mealybugs.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 17/11/2023

Views: 5257

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.