I’m not sure if you have noticed recently, but it is still cold outside which is good news for you, me and fruit growers alike!  Cold temperatures prevent fruit buds from breaking dormancy abnormally early in the spring which may decrease the chance of frost damage to blossoms in coming months. Cold weather also contributes to chilling hour requirements necessary for fruit production.  For a great description of chilling hour requirements for fruit trees, check out this write-up from Dave Wilson Nursery.

Fruit tree in bloom

This is the time of year when fruit growers start keeping an eye on their fruit trees and the weather.  As winter transitions into spring, buds of dormant plants swell, break dormancy and flower.  The Utah Pests team has an excellent factsheet on critical temperatures for frost damage on fruit trees.

Critical temperature chart for fruit 1

Finally, if you are in the market of shopping for new fruit trees this year, check out variety recommendations by USU Extension fruit guru, Mike Pace and take a weekend this summer to visit his demonstration orchard planted at the Utah State University Botanical Center (750 E Sego Lily Dr. Kaysville, UT 84037).

USU Botanical Center Orchard