Protecting Peach Tree from Frost - Knowledgebase Question

Denver, CO
Question by gdkk26a
December 11, 1997
Is there some way to protect a small peach tree from late spring frosts in areas like Denver, Colorado. We sometimes get late spring snows and hard freezes after the flowers come out in March or April, which kills all fruit buds on the tree. Freezes in late Frebuary when the buds are set will also end any hope of fruit the coming summer.

Nancy Rosensweig
gdkk26a@prodigy.com


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Answer from NGA
December 11, 1997

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If your tree is small enough, you can try the conventional protection of a sheet or polyester row cover put in place ahead of time. Remove it during the day and replace it at night. Unfortunately, if it snows, this will help the snow collect and weigh down the brances, which can lead to damage. Some folks use small kerosene heaters placed under their trees to keep the temperature just high enough to prevent frost. Since kerosene smoke is toxic to some plants, don't use covers and kerosene in combination, which would allow fumes to concentrate around the tree.

Probably your best route is to grow a peach that sets buds later than the one you have. Peaches, like many plants, need a certain number of "chilling hours" before they break dormancy. If you choose one with a high chilling-hour requirement, you're more likely to get fruit. 'Reliant', 'Newhaven', 'Nectar', 'Richaven' and 'Contender' are all cultivars that break late and ripen fairly quickly. Your extension service (ph# 303/692-5600) can suggest the ones that are best suited to your climate. If you need sources, let us know -- we're happy to help! Good luck!

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