[NAFEX] Peach Question
kieran or donna
redherring at tnaccess.com
Thu Feb 10 21:10:51 EST 2005
"Prunus flower buds are well developed and extreme
freezing will rupture the cells killing the flower. "
Have any of you northerners ever tried DMSO on their peach buds? I've brought it up before, but haven't tried it either, as we have such a long gauntlet from bud to ripe peach here it's hardly worth lifting a finger to help out at the beginning when a late freeze hits. IF you want to try it, use a 5% solution, sprayed on either before the big freeze hits, or after you look at the thermometer in the morning and say "Oh shit!" but before the buds thaw out. That does give you some leeway on time (keeping in mind that there is usually bright sunshine on the morning after such a freeze, which could warm the buds up if you wait too late in the day), and the solution shouldn't freeze in your sprayer. Bet you never sprayed your fruit trees at -20 F before! What's more, any of the spray that lands on you should protect you from frostbite yourself, LOL. Seriously, it's a DMSO solution, 50% if I remember correctly, that's used to thaw out frozen fingers with no damage. It's used a lot on horses, and health fanatics like me keep it around though I can't say for certain that it has actually done any good on any injury I have used it on. I CAN feel safe though in the knowlege that if something smallish, like say our cat, (well, the littler one of the two anyway), should fall into a vat of liquid nitrogen, I could probably save her.
However, fruit buds are considerably more complicated. I go out, I look at the flowers, I touch a warm finger to a frozen petal and it melts and wilts, so I know the petals on THAT flower were frozen. Was the all important pistil frozen? Was the unopened bud next to it frozen? Since 10% survival of blooms means a full crop, I tend to just wait and see, and sure enough we nearly always get some small peaches formed, for the curculios to eat. And even in a great year like 2004, when all the peaches had bumper crops, the bumper crop of squirrels created by the 2003 bumper crop of nuts and acorns ate much of the 2004 peach crop. The cost of Surround and the time spent spraying, before the whole summer turned into one endless drizzle, made my peaches seem rather impractical. Whereas plums, as they have done before, proved themselves generous and carefree.
So let me get the rest of you off on this tangent. I adored peaches and never thought much of plums, till I tasted fresh plums and realised that a basket of plums in the hand is worth a lot more than no peaches on the tree. Can't you northerners grow plums, nice juicy sweet plums, without worrying about the buds freezing in the winter? I personally am about ready to let my showy-blossom seedling peaches live out their natural lives looking pretty in the spring, and graft their seedlings to plums. And plums make the VERY BEST wine. Donna
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