More frost damage recorded in Apples and Sweet Cherries in Winchester

Our digital temperature data loggers placed in four different blocks in the AHS Jr. AREC’s research farm indicated that we were hit by killing freezing temperatures in the mornings of Friday (April 2) and Saturday (April 3), with the latter being more aggressive and long-lasting. In fact, the lowest we received on Friday was 24oF, but on Saturday, our trees were hammered by temps as low as 21oF for more than 30 min. 21 oF for 30 min or more are enough to kill 90% of apple flower buds at ‘tight cluster’, ‘first pink’ and ‘full pink’.  Today (April 5), we collected flower clusters from Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, Red Delicious, Zester, and Honeycrisp. Except for Zester, all the cultivars are only moving from tight cluster to first pink. Zestar with flowers at ‘full pink’ showed 65% mortality. Other cultivars showed 45% (Fuji), 45% (Gala), 42% (Pink Lady), 15% (Red Delicious) and 5% (Honeycrisp). Unsurprisingly, king blossoms showed far more damage than side flowers. As for sweet cherries, we have recorded 93% flower mortality for flower buds at different stages (mostly first white and first bloom). Luckily and -to some extent- unexpectedly, our ‘Sunhigh’ peach flowers showed less than 25% flower despite being at the pink to the first-bloom stage. I have attached some images below to show some examples of frost damages we detected in apples and sweet cherries.

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