Experts Offer Tips On How Fruit Growers Can Combat Cold Temperatures

If you’re a fruit grower in the upper Midwest, mid-Atlantic, or Northeast, you don’t need to be told how damaging the April freezes have been, especially following mild March temperatures.

The last time growers in those regions experienced a spring like this was in 2012, when the apple crop in Michigan was almost completely wiped out. That year, USApple reported Eastern and Midwestern crops were down 31% and 79%, respectively.

Recently, growers in Pennsylvania are going so far as to set fires in their orchards to save their crops.

But it’s not just apples and other tree fruit crops that have been affected; grapes are also being hit.

Posts on GrowingProduce note products such as Promalin, which can help, but must be applied at the right time.

In light of all the recent problems, if you believe you have already sustained damage, Lynn Kime, Penn State Senior Extension Associate, says a call to your crop insurance agent may be in order.

If you believe the recent low temperatures may have damaged your crop, you have 72 hours to report the event to your insurance provider. If you have not documented the temperatures at your farm, Kime notes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) provides weather information three days prior to the date you access their web site and enter your ZIP code.

In addition, Penn State Extension Tree Fruit Production  lists critical temperatures for fruit crops at various bud stages.

Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension Fruit Educator gives advice on what should be of concern to growers.

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