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Winter damage notes for 2015

Posted by Claude Jolicoeur 
Winter damage notes for 2015
June 03, 2015 11:00PM
We've had a quite cold winter here in Quebec this year, and a number of varieties that I grow suffered at various degrees from some winter kill. Actually, the average temperature for February was the coldest recorded for almost a century, but we didn't get really extreme cold, as the coldest I recorded was -28C which is close to the average minimum that I record. In some years I have recorded as low as -32, while other years it might not get lower than -25.

The one variety that suffered most is Gray Pearmain: I had 8 grafts on 2 different trees, and only one of the lot is showing a few live buds that opened very late. All the other grafts are completely dead. I guess this indicates quite marginal hardiness in out climates.
My Flemish Beauty pear tree is also having a very hard time this spring, with a good part of the tree dead, but this one has suffered heavy pear blister mite infestation these last years, which might have weakened it.
Other varieties showing damage (but they should recover) are Rubinette, St-Edmunds Pippin, Haralson (this is unexpected), and Wickson apples, and also Mirabelle plum.

All of the cider apple varieties seem to have gone through without problem. A few (e.g. Marechal) had some flower buds frozen, but otherwise all looks good.

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: Winter damage notes for 2015
June 04, 2015 04:34PM
One Cox Orange Pippin on M.7 is showing serious decline and I don't know why. Same for a Pristine on M.26. A large limb on Sandow seems to have gone through a death mutation. Nothing unusual to see "something" it seems, no matter what the winter. I will acknowledge that the end of my climate change bet -- being a Garnet Beauty and Contender peach -- was due to the cold that approached 30F below here a few times this winter.

I do have a discouraging report concerning the 60 or so three year-old trees I planted out from the garden nursery last spring. All looked good through the summer when the first round of deer browse came. Then again in late fall. And then again in winter before the snows got too deep. Those pruning snips of every conceivable bud (in some cases) to vascular systems stressed by cold set up this list of absolutely dead trees that I see now. But I'm far from convinced this proves anything about winter hardiness of these varieties given the damn deer:
    2 of 2 Albemarle (Newton) Pippin
    2 of 3 Harrison
    2 of 2 Hadlock Reinette
    2 of 3 Davey
    1 of 3 Secor
    2 of 2 Quebec Belle
    1 of 1 Reine de Reinette
    1 of 1 Redfield
Keep in mind there's a good four dozen trees from the same planting looking good. Trees on the edge of this new block had individual fence rings so weren't hit by the deer much at all. Others in middle rows now growing fine were hit equally hard however, varieties like Chisel Jersey, Virginia Hewes, Yarlington, and Regent. All I know is that a serious deer fence will be up in another month!

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2015 06:16PM by Michael Phillips.
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