Frost Strikes Tree Fruit Crops Again

Frosted Window

Following this week’s low temperatures, freeze damage on crops has been reported in Michigan, Washington, and New York, although the damage is not as extensive as in 2012. Here is a roundup of weather-related news from around the country.

  • Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce Marketing in Sparta told “I think we came through it. … It was pretty scary there. In some low-lying areas it got down to 24°F. We may have chased some of the apples up the hill, but it looks like we’ve got the potential for a good crop.”
  • reported that Andy Sietsema, owner of Sietsema Orchards and Cider Mill of Ada, MI, said on the orchard’s Facebook page “RIP 2013 apple crop. 27°F pretty much did the whole crop in last night.”
  • Mike Beck of Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. John’s, MI, told WLIX that he used wind machines to keep his crop warm through the cold night on Sunday to Monday. “Hopefully they’ll move the cold air up and bring some of the warmer air down creating a heat inversion. You try to move a fair amount of air. All it takes is 60 minutes at 28°F at this point and that’s where you can start to lose crop.”
  • Matthew Critz from Critz Farms in Cazenovia, NY, told “the blossoms look fine and we’re very happy.”
  • The low temperatures worried Pennsylvania growers according to the Tribune Democrat, however, no additional reports of damage have been released.
  • Cold temperatures did, however, hit the Washington cherry industry, where Brianna Shales, communications manager for Stemilt Growers, told the Tri-City Herald that the frost hit the smaller cherries and reduced the cropload, but “the smaller crop means the best cherries are hanging on the tree, so quality will be fantastic this year, barring any additional weather events.”

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