Our trees froze back and are now brown, so are they going to recover?
We don’t know what you experienced but on May 18th, we went down to 24 F. degrees. Almost all of our Persian Walnuts, our peaches, our cherries, some of our heartnuts, all of our chestnuts and some of our black walnuts were burnt back to the stem. Would we get any fruit or nuts from our trees? Our hazelnuts didn’t seem to notice, but our walnuts (all of them) were burned back to some degree. Walnuts like hazelnuts put on their flowers the year before and if the flowers are frozen when exposed, they can die. Chestnuts on the other hand put on flowers in the spring. Therefore, we lost most walnuts this year, no hardy hazelnuts and may have a reduced production of chestnuts. Like all trees that have to start over and regrow, they lose a fair amount of energy when have to start over. We see chestnut catkins emerging and can’t wait to see female flowers showing soon.
The more mature trees will restart, the very young trees just getting established could be hurt significantly and when combined with a severe dry period even die. This was a bad year for newly planted trees of all types, but a good year for breeding nurseries to select the cold hardy offspring that can provide the cold hardy genetics to further improve nut trees going forward. For example, we had Persian (English) walnut rejects we didn’t sell because they were too small. There was about 45 of them and about 18 of them were not affected by the 24 F freeze at all. Their siblings were burnt back to the stem. So overly small trees we considered too small to send to customers had genetics to withstand the rare deep freeze and continue growing. The extra cold hardy genetics are now being planted in our breeding orchard, hoping they are good producers with good disease resistance.