Frost protection- cherries, pip, stone fruit in Hororata, Canterbury

Many people in our area lose much of their fruit to late, hard frosts. We have a Digital Temperature Switch (Love Brand, looks like it is made by Dwyer) Series TS2, 16 A SPDT Relay Output.
Phone 3588309 to find the supplier in CHCH.

This triggers a set of sprinklers. Quite amazing how much ice can build up on the flowers of our orchard trees and the volunteer spuds beneath benefit greatly. Their leaves end up encased in ice and they receive no damage from the frost.

BUT- you knew there was a but! Last year (2009/10) our stone fruit yielded abysmally. Most trees looked diseased and ugly- leaves died back. Why? Not sure. Pip fruit was fine.
Lack of copper spray in winter? Perhaps. Too much water in early spring? Perhaps. Our soils are very free draining, but this year we intend to work on sprinklers that deliver less water.

2010/11 – We set up a different sprinkler system for frosts in 2010 spring. However during plum flowering we had lots of nor-west wind and minimal frost- therefore next to no need for sprinklers. We bought an Israeli made overhead sprinkler- chosen from about 40 different options. Overhead at 2-3 m with sprinklers upside down- we get about 10 m diameter circle. Minimal flow, so interesting to see how effective it is.

WE put a copper spray on in autumn and in spring, a Bravo fungicide put on at flowering for stone fruit and bud formation for apples/pears.

13/10/2010. A frost down to -2 or -3 and the frost sprinklers didn’t kick in as a lad had unplugged power to our unit. Sorted around 0615 this morning, and so far it looks like we have managed to keep most fruit alive.

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