Every spring, peach growers face the same challenge. Very quickly, we move from wanting cold weather to warm weather. Once peach trees start to blossom, they are very vulnerable to freeze damage. This spring was no different, and we did have a freeze event on March 12-13.
It was a stressful weekend and we registered 22 degrees for multiple hours on the farm. This can be devastating to a peach tree – depending on what stage the blossom is at. For some varieties that are in full bloom, being below 32 degrees can kill the blossom and we’ll lose the peach. For others, when they are still buds and haven’t opened up into a blossom, they can withstand colder temperatures.
We were very fortunate this spring! Despite the cold temperatures, it doesn’t look like we lost many of our freestone peaches. At Pearson Farm, the earlier clingstone varieties were mostly wiped out by the cold. However, in an absolute stunner, we survived and are on track to have peaches this summer!
Pictured above are some of the efforts made to prevent frost damage. Burning hay bales is a primary technique, as well as wind machines to prevent cold air from settling. Check out the “Tree Talk” episode below where Al Pearson explains more about the 2022 freeze, and what it was like on the farm!