Trees and Shrubs forum→Are my trees doomed?

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Denver, Colorado, USA, Earth, (Zone 5b)
DenverDaisy
Jun 3, 2020 1:59 PM CST
Here in Denver we had a fairly normal early spring snow storm that didn't seem to be anything to worry about. This one hit just before my earliest flowering fruit trees, a few peaches, were set to bloom. We've had snows that were later and colder, in fact those early blooming peaches only produce fruit about once every five years or so because of late cold snaps.

Two of my peach trees appear to be dead and I'm just trying to figure out if one perfectly timed cold snap can completely kill an otherwise healthy tree. I've had plenty of instances of winter injury, SOME dieback, and of course early flowers getting creamed but I've never lost an entire established tree before.

All around town I see deciduous trees with damage that I would associate with that same cold snap/snow. Most trees are fine and have fully leafed out, some are only partially leafed (and don't appear to be producing auxiliary leaves), and some are completely leafless.

I've had trees almost completely defoliated by spring hail storms which fully recovered by mid summer.

Am I freaking out over nothing and just need to be patient or should I be telling my friends to buy stock in tree farms because we're all going to be buying next year?
Cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
-MCA
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
Hummingbirder Birds Organic Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover
oneeyeluke
Jun 3, 2020 2:16 PM CST
You can't do anything about freeze damage you have to just live with it. Are you getting a fruit off your fruit trees?
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Denver, Colorado, USA, Earth, (Zone 5b)
DenverDaisy
Jun 4, 2020 6:52 AM CST
oneeyeluke said:You can't do anything about freeze damage you have to just live with it. Are you getting a fruit off your fruit trees?


Yep, winter kill and cold temp injuries are just a part of nature. I'm wondering about the extent of the injuries. I've never seen so much damage from such a relatively normal event and am just wondering if anyone else in the Denver area had noticed the same thing. I'll try to attach a couple pictures from around a neighborhood for example.

Most of the time I deal with a few tips or maybe an entire branch dying due to a winter injury but this year I'm seeing what looks like entire mature established trees that have less than half leafed out and in a lot of cases have NO leaves yet.

Re: the peach trees... I do get fruit off of them but only in those magical years when the flowers don't get killed by frost (about every 4-6 years). Last year was the first time we have ever gotten fruit two years in a row but last year the Japanese Beetles discovered how good the peaches were and took about half of them for themselves.
Thumb of 2020-06-04/DenverDaisy/bb943a


Thumb of 2020-06-04/DenverDaisy/b6fbf3


Thumb of 2020-06-04/DenverDaisy/5699ff

Cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
-MCA
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
Jun 4, 2020 11:47 AM CST
I don't know about the middle one, but the first and 3rd pictures you posted are ash trees that are probably suffering from emerald ash borer. The first one you can even see the bark starting to peel off, which is very characteristic. Are ash borers a new thing in Denver? They came through here about 5-10 years ago, now the only ash trees are saplings with immature bark and a few that get regular insecticide treatments.

The middle picture with two tree being dead on the same side, some branches dead back to the trunk and some branches fine makes me suspect something like sunscald or salt damage instead of winter dieback. The winter damage I've seen tends to look more like not-so-great looking leaves all around, with dieback concentrated at the tips of branches.

Of course, frost-kill is often only part of a puzzle, stressing a tree that may have other damage beyond the point of recovery rather than being the primary cause.
Denver, Colorado, USA, Earth, (Zone 5b)
DenverDaisy
Jun 5, 2020 1:16 PM CST
Thanks PO.

It is definitely not EAB. They are new to our area but have not made it to metro Denver yet. 2019 was the first year they were reported outside Boulder County so it's only a matter of time.

I think you're the closest so far with the theory about weak/stressed trees getting hit harder by a late freeze.
Cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
-MCA
[Last edited by DenverDaisy - Jun 5, 2020 1:16 PM (+)]
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central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
Jun 5, 2020 1:57 PM CST
I dunno. I might report that tree and have whomever keeps track of those things examine them. They look very familiar Thumbs down
Denver, Colorado, USA, Earth, (Zone 5b)
DenverDaisy
Jun 17, 2020 8:01 PM CST
I'll close my post out with an update.

I've heard from some colleagues at the Extension and I think I've got it pieced together. It looks like the victims are generally weak or stressed trees that took offense to several large temperature swings in the fall, winter, and again late spring.

The Extension says it's a combination punch with a dry winter dealing the second blow. It's always dry here in the winter and I didn't think this last one was particularly dry. I won't argue with them, they keep better records than I do.
Cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
-MCA

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