Why I Garden #15

Wild Plum in bloom with snow

I love gardening, but to paraphrase the old saying - it's not all a bed of roses. Case in point, the apple, almond and plum trees are in bloom and the apricot trees are just past bloom. The problem: the weather last night - snow and a low of 29.5°F and the forecast for tonight is below freezing again.

So, I'm experimenting. A friend gave me two strings of old, 7 watt bulb incandescent christmas lights which I strung through the apricot trees. I turned on the lights last night and left them on until the outdoor thermometer read a few degrees above freezing the next morning. The apple, almond and plum trees were left unprotected. We'll see in a few weeks whether the warm christmas lights helped protect the apricots and/or if the other blossoms were damaged.

We are still three weeks away from the average last frost date and spring snow storms aren't uncommon here. Such is life in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. My fingers are crossed that we may still have fruit this year. I've been thinking that maybe life IS a bed of roses, the old-fashioned thorny variety.

More Info:

MSU Extension: Fruit Tree Cold and Freezing Damage Articles

How to Protect Fruit Trees From a Freeze