Apple trees bear fruit once they mature enough to blossom freely, which typically occurs when they are 2 to 5 years old. The health of the tree influences how quickly it grows strong enough to be productive. Frost can cause injury to the buds and blossoms, reducing or eliminating the fruit yield. As a home gardener, you can do a few things to protect apple trees from frost.
Things You'll Need
- Plastic or bed sheets
Choose a planting site where the apple tree will not be in a frost pocket, which is a low spot where the cold air settles. The lower-than-normal temperature can kill apple blossoms and fruit. A higher site with a slope directs the cold airflow away from the tree, especially during early spring frosts.
Plant the apple tree close to water. Rivers and lakes hold heat and produce warmer air. Apple trees are less likely to suffer frost injury in these areas.
Sprinkle the apple tree with water on chilly nights that are clear and calm. As the water freezes, it releases heat, which can keep the apple buds from freezing. If it's windy, the problem can worsen because the water evaporates. Turn on a water sprinkler when the temperature reaches 33 degrees Fahrenheit, and leave it on all night until the ice melts from the tree the following the day.
Cover the apple tree with a piece of plastic. This common process for fruit trees only works if you set up a heat source such as a kerosene heater inside the covering. If not, the material will hold ice in.
Lay an old bed sheet across the tops of the tree when heavy frost is expected. It may protect the blossoms or buds from injury if the temperatures don't fall too low.
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