peach tree blooms and frosts

i'm not a fruit tree grower.
a friend asked me if a peach tree is in bloom how long it would take for it to pollinate (assuming bees are around, etc.) and if a frost would destroy the developing fruit.
me guessing figures that if the flower gets pollinated then the petals of the bloom don't matter nearly as much as the central part of the flower that carries the pollen tubes down to the ovaries. a light frost might damage the flower petals but might not do that much to a more hardy structure.
so what do you fruit experts think? or what have your experiences been with peach trees and frosts during bloom?
of course i told her that she could protect the tree by covering it or putting a smudge pot by it, etc. it isn't so large a tree that it could not be somewhat protected.
songbird
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Peaches are a lot more susceptible to frost damage while the petals are still attached. Once they have fallen the ovary is protected by the shuck until the ovary swells enough to split the shuck. Temps can go to the high twenties for several hours with no real damage while the shuck protects the ovary. The petals seem to provide a pathway for frost to damage the ovary. Breezy conditions are your friend as long as the temps don't drop to low. HTH, Steve

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Steve Peek wrote:

thanks,
forecast for tonight is 31F and windy, so i think they'll be ok. will see tree owner tomorrow. tomorrow's evening forecast is for 27F and not as breezy, so they'll probably want to protect the tree.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

A light frost would probably be OK at this point.

I am not an expert. I have three peach trees that bear at different times but luckily so far they have not had the false spring and subsequent hard frost that interferes with fruit setting. The early one has survived light frosts and set fruit OK.

With one tree you could easily cover it if frosty conditions were likely and uncover it the next day without this becoming too tiresome. I would favour this to reduce radiative heat loss. As the blooms are well up off the ground a katabatic flow would be less likely to freeze them.
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

i'm hoping so for tonight.

good to know.

thanks David,
this is a smaller tree so the blooms are not quite as high up as a full sized tree, but that will make it easier to cover.
songbird
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I had a few peach trees years ago and maybe every 5 years or so crop would be greatly diminished due to too warm weather in February causing blooming when a lot of hard frosts would follow. The light frosts were not a problem as frost free date here is May 15.
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Frank wrote: ...

tonight is forecast down to 25F. she will cover the tree. we hope that will be enough.
songbird
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DO NOT cover the tree with plastic sheeting!!! Use some form of cloth. The plastic sheeting will intensify the cold transfer to the tree.

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Steve Peek wrote:

the plan was to use an old sheet. i'm not sure if that was what they actually ended up using or not. i am not near them to check and it's too late to call. we'll see...
songbird
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