A week and a half ago (Apr 13 and 14), we had two nights of hard freezing temperatures in much of the Pikes Peak area. Temperatures got down into the teens, and it seemed likely that many early blooming fruit trees might lose their almost-ready-to-open blooms. (We’ve written about fruit trees and freezing temps before here.) Amazingly, given what we know about fruit tree blossoms and killing temperatures, it seems that many of those trees escaped losing all of the blooms and may have only suffered some frost/freeze damage.
Here are some photos of a crabapple that is blooming in my yard this week (about a week later than “normal” – it was just about to open before it was set back by the freeze).
Notice that many of its blooms do not have all five full-sized petals. I’ve noticed fewer bees than usual visiting the blossoms as well, making me wonder if nectar and pollen production were affected. Time will tell – we’ll see how much fruit the tree produces.
Looking around at other fruit trees in the area, it seems the peach trees were more affected by the freeze than plums or cherries were. And there are many beautifully blooming apple trees around town as well. Given the research, it seems this is definitely a gift from Mother Nature this year!
Contributed by Carey Harrington, Certified Colorado Gardener, Colorado Native Plant Master