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When do I need to protect a fruit tree from cold, and how do I do it?

We have several cherry trees and an apple tree in our back yard. Due to the very warm March we had (in Minnesota), they are all covered in flowers. In a few days, there is a chance of snow, and an overnight low of 26.

What do I need to do to protect them?

I saw When do I need to protect a fruit tree from cold, and how do I do it?, but I don't know if the difference between just starting to bud, and having flowers on them for a week or two is important.

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Look very carefully at documents in the accepted answer on the linked question. If you read those documents (esp the one from NCSU) you will see that, for example, apples at full bloom will have 90% kill at 25°F. As kevinsky mentions, the protection techniques will be the same as in the linked question. –  bstpierre Apr 14 '12 at 23:26
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marked as duplicate by kevinsky, bstpierre, jmusser, David, Lorem Ipsum Apr 24 '12 at 16:08

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

My initial thought was to cover them with tarps if they aren't too big. I like the suggestion in the question you linked to about placing heaters under the tree as well.

A quick search found this site about protecting orange trees. It suggests keeping the ground near the tree wet and wrapping the trunk with cardboard or cloth.

This site has a fantastic suggestion - put Christmas lights on the trees and leave them on all night.

Those are some things to try. I think anything you can do to raise the temperature around the tree a little bit is good whether there are flowers on it or not.

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