The Q&A Archives: Can I delay blooming on our fruit

Question: We have a lot of late frosts in our area. Is there any way to delay the blooming on our fruit trees, especially apple, so they escape frost damage? Gillis Stegemann Galena, MO

Answer: There's little you can do to delay flowering in your fruit trees, says Chad Flinn, fruit specialist with the University of Missouri, Columbia. But you can select apples that bloom later in spring than most. Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Lady, Macoun, Newtown, Pippin, Northern Spy, Rome and Winesap are high quality, late blooming apple varieties. Cherries, apricots and peaches don't offer such extended bloom periods. If you have a choice of planting sites, choose a northernslope that will warm more slowly in spring and delay bloom slightly. Avoid low areas where cold air accumulates they are more subject to late frosts. For very early blooming fruits, consider training the trees as small espaliers on a fence or againstthe wall of a building. You can cover compact trees with plastic or row cover fabric on the critical night or two that late frost threatens.

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