Fruit Tree Update
It may be too early to offer a solid verdict here. We won't know for absolutely certain if the blossoms survived until they swell into baby fruits in a few weeks. So far, though, things look okay. First, the apple tree in its tent:
It was fairly warm in there when I poked my head in this afternoon, and I think this tree should be fine. The tent managed to stay up in the wind, and with the heat and coverage I think it should do okay for the next couple of cold nights (which aren't supposed to be quite as cold as last night). A closer look at the state of the blossoms:
To my eye, these seem unscathed, so I'm feeling pretty good about the prospects for the apples.
On the other hand, it looks like the apricot blossoms got some frostbite in the wind and the cold:
It's not terrible, but you can see that (despite the lights nearby), some petals are brown and dead. I am somewhat hopeful, though, because I didn't see any blossoms that lost all their petals (that I could tell, anyway). Also, I found this interesting tidbit from a community orchard in Toronto: if the pistils on an apricot are still yellow after the cold, they should be fine. It's when they turn black and dead that you have a problem with your fruit.
So I promptly went out for a much closer inspection, and all the pistils look great — yellow and healthy. The stamens are brown instead of yellow where the pollen should be, but that's not something they mentioned. And I'm thinking that they should know all about freezing fruit trees, being from Canada and all, so I hope they I are right.
As for the possibly frozen and/or lost pollen, that shouldn't be a problem. When it was still warm and the tree opened up, I paintbrush-pollinated the blossoms myself. Apricots should be self-fruitful, but with dropping temperatures and no bees in sight this early, I took it upon myself to give the tree a helping hand. Is this unheard of? No. Is it a little obsessive? Uh … maybe.