Here is a simple and fast way to determine frost damage in your orchard. Dave at Fair Haven Orchard, MN, showed me two years ago when an early frost hit then. Just pick a individual
flower or several flowers in a tight cluster and with your fingernail cut them in half. If the center is any color but green to bright green they are sorry to say done. If you sample the same variety randomly ten time at the same level/elevation (not
at the bottom of a slope because cold air sinks) you will get a good percentage of potential crop yet to grow. (Only to be damaged by hail, wind, disease, bugs and yes, early Fall frost/freeze) Here is farmer's optimism - Less than 50% frost damage is a
50% thinned tree.
We received 25 /26 degrees each night for 3 - 4 hours (Neighbor's weather station NOGEF) and I know this may pose a bit of a quandary; because of this large Canadian air mass that should have been as cold everywhere in the orchard; but the hills on my
farm plus the slight wind played more of a factor than any 006 spray. Any pink to open flower (including apples, pears, apricots.)was frozen on the bottom of the hills but the sides and tops were okay as of yet. Also for future note, I mowed and mulched
my younger trees (In January!) with wood chips and mulch and 90% of those trees hadn't made it past bud break and half inch green. My much older standard orchards were at tight cluster too pink. I hope this feed back is helpful. Just another learning year.
Breezy Hill Organic Orchard, Maple Lake, MN, organic since 1993 certified 2002.
I didn’t spray anything and at this point am guessing 30-50% loss of the varieties that had reached tight cluster. And,
my model says that the next rain, forecast for late this week, will bring asignificant scab event. Freeze one night and scab two nights later!!! What a strange year.
Turtle Lake WI
We experienced 24 last night and 25 the night before.
I have only a small portion of my apples in transition to organics, so in my low spots I applied 1qt
Systems-Cal and 2 Qts KDL per acre pre-frost event.
How are the blossoms looking that experienced low temps and had the molasses-kelp treatments?
(I am hoping for the best, but our low spot blossoms look pretty hurt.)
Wishing the best to the fruit and the farmers,
I have tried to attach an email from Regi Destree on froest protection.
----- Original Message -----
Friday, April 06, 2012 12:17 AM
Re: [organictreefruits] freezing temperatures
Thank you for responding, Jay.
I have been out all day so I apologize for not responding....
I read that milk has three different calciums which is very good
and some fat which would be good but too much fat would block
the absorption of the minerals.
I think goat milk has less fat than cow milk. Maybe skim the cow's
I was thinking 1% mixture for the milk (1 gal milk to 100 gal water) but Jay's recommendation is more clear. I always mix in molasses. The extra
carbs are a big help. Kelp has 68 minerals with 98% availability.
Alfalfa has 55 minerals with 98% availability. Same for comfrey. We can
make a tea with flakes/pellets/leaves of alfalfa/comfrey and use that water
to spray/feed the plants. Put the alfalfa/comfrey in a pillow case and use
it like a tea bag. Let it soak in the tank of water or in a garbage can full
of water and use that as your spray water. The longer it steeps the
more minerals go into the water.
Alfalfa and kelp are high in phyto hormones (cytokinins?) that reduces stress
in plants. It's amazing how well it works. Especially for heat stress
in summer. Plants love alfalfa water in the summer.
When plants are under stress they use extra carbs. This time of year it will
come from the root reserves which means plants may have low root
reserves going into summer. It's important to keep feeding carbohydrates to our
plants thu out the year even if it's with compost tea.
A tea can be made using aged wood chips, leaves or straw in a pillow
case. Add some forest soil as well. It will be high in beneficial fungi as well
as biologically available carbon.
Minerals and carbohydrates lower the freezing point inside the cells and
Jay, any thoughts on frequency of the spray? Can we do several times
this week for added benefit and protection?
Best wishes for healthy plants, everyone.
Some work has been done spraying raw milk on hay fields. 3 gallons per acre is the limit.
More does not help.
Milk is one of the few ways to apply calcium and phosphate together. Many liquid calcium and
phosphate combinations instantly be come like snot.
Phosphate is critical for raising brix which lowers the freeze point if photosynthesis is working.
----- Original Message -----
Thursday, April 05, 2012 10:23 AM
RE: [organictreefruits] freezing temperatures
Bill -- we milk goats & a cow. Could we just dilute their milk & apply? ('Cuz I need certified
Visit Simple Harvest Farm Organics at the Riverwalk Farmers Market in Northfield
9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday, June - December!
Good morning Arnie,
One pound of soft rock phosphate in one gallon of water.
Stir and let settle for 10 minutes. Use that.
I did 25# in a 32 gallon garbage can and I keep adding water to it.
I have had the same batch for over 3 years. I just keep adding water
and stirring and let settle for 10 minutes. Mix @ 3%, so 3 gallons
to 100 gallons of water. You can do heavier but it will makes spots
on the leaves which is fine for trees but looks funny on lettuce.
Soft rock phosphate does wonders for plants and is used in very
large amounts by all plants.
After about 10 to 15 minutes of settling, the water is almost pure
calcium phosphate and is about 5 microns or less in size. Leaf stomates
are 30 microns. Bark lenticels are a little bigger. So absorption will
be very good.
This can be applied every day. Even twice in one day. It goes in
quick and does not burn or harm. Make sure to keep up the carbs.
Plants are desperate for carbs. We get molasses from a local feed store
and feed mills have big tanks of it. Glucose (Karo syrup) is also very good
but more expensive. Powdered glucose is called dextrose and sold by bakery supply
companies. Sucrose (table sugar) is a dessicant and should be avoided. Molasses
is best. The minerals are already in phosphate form and the carbs are
very friendly to the plant.
Even if you just did molasses and kelp, that would go a long way.
I use calcium gluconate from a local supplier. It is highly available to the plant.
The calcium in powdered milk is calcium gluconate. I know it sounds funny but
you might find a bag of powdered milk and mix 2-3# per 100 gallons. It will
be absorbed in the plant in 20 minutes.
The calcium in yogurt is calcium lactate and also very available. Mix a gallon
of plain yogurt into 100 gallons.
Plants make these calciums all the time. Plants make lactic acid which mixes with
calcium in the root zone and makes calcium lactate. Same for acetic acid (calcium
acetate), sulfuric acid (calcium sulfate) gluconic acid (calcium gluconate), citric acid
(calcium citrate) and phosphoric acid (calcium phosphate).
So by adding these things to our spray, we are feeding the plants nutrientsthat
they already recognize and make and use.
Sometimes I put some high calcium lime in a garbage can and add water and stir
it up, let it settle for a while and scoop some of that water. That is calcium
carbonate and is a big molecule. Mixing in water and letting it settle acts as a type
of filter which allows us to use the smallest particles. The longer we let it settle,
the finer the particles.
Calcium carbonate water is very good for frost protection but my understanding
is that it is a big enough molecule that it may stay on the surface and act as a
physical barrier to the cold, rather than be aborbed right away like the others.
If you are curious where calcium goes in the cell wall, check out "middle lamella"
on wikipedia. it says calcium and potassium pectate but it should actually
just be calcium but that is a discussion for another day.
I hope this all helps. As they say, any port in a storm. These tips are very
affordable and highly effective. Keep up the carbs.
Good luck Arnie and keep us informed.
Bill, I am wondering what soft rock phosphate water is ? & where to get it or how to make it?
I have plums , apricot , pear and cherry trees in bloom and pre-bloom stage here in Plainfield , WI with at least a week of frost nite temps predicted. I am willing to give this concoction a try. Thanks, Arnie
1) Cellular integrity starts with calcium.
2) Getting minerals into the cell will lower the freezing point inside
the cells and provide some frost protection.
Here are some photos from my friend Tom in Spokane ; (scroll down)
A homemade version of what he did would be;
per gallon of water, spray
2oz liquid calcium
4 oz soft rock phosphate water
half to 1 oz of fish fertilizer (high in oils)
Good luck to everyone,
Here in Madison , Wisconsin , we’ve experienced a very mild winter and warm spring. All my
fruit trees have bloomed or are blooming (sour cherry trees, peaches and apricots) as well as my blueberries and currants. Now we’re expecting 30 degree temperatures for a couple of nights. Will it help to cover the trees with plastic sheeting, tarps, or old
fabric sheets? or am I wasting my time? I hate to lose this year’s crops.