Utahans are still worried (and some fruit growers and USU Extension fruit experts are losing sleep) over the warm weather’s effect on fruit trees. As I am sure you have noticed, some fruit trees, like sweet cherries, peaches, apricots, and plums, are already in bloom!
Although it’s true that stone fruits, like cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots, typically set more flower buds than needed for a productive season, other fruit trees, like pome fruits (pears and apples) may not. However, fruit trees with the greatest frost injury risk are those that develop and mature flower buds early in the growing season (see the order of risk below).
almond > apricot > sweet cherry > plum > peach > tart cherry > apple
Once flower buds break dormancy and begin to mature (swell), they become more vulnerable to frost injury. Pictures of bud stages and threshold temperatures for tree fruit flower bud damage are posted on the USU Extension website.
A recent article by Emilee Bench from KSL News reported on this topic. Warm weather brings early blooms, worries for some orchardists – KSL.com, March 18th, 2015.
So everyone keep your fingers crossed and do the warm weather dance in hopes Jack Frost decides to sleep-in until next year!