Frozen Fruit? May freeze puts Michigan’s fruit crops in peril

May 13, 2013

Cherry Orchard ... spring snow

Cherry Orchard … spring snow, photo by Ken Scott

The National Weather Service noted that the high temperature yesterday at the Otsego County Airport in Gaylord only reached 35 degrees – a new record for the coldest high temperature for the date that crushed the previous record of 44 degrees from 2003. It was also the coldest high temperature ever recorded in the month of May for Gaylord. They notched a record snowfall of 2 inches as well, beating the old record of 1 inch from 1971.

Temperatures dipped into the 20s across the state last night. Although the word isn’t in yet about the effect those temps have had, an mLive article about the apple crop on Fruit Ridge explains:

As fruit trees begin to develop and blossom each spring, their ability to withstand cold temperatures is greatly reduced. As bloom nears, temperatures in the upper 20-degree can cause considerable damage to early blooming crop varieties.

Currently on the area’s Fruit Ridge — a band of ideal growing land northwest of Grand Rapids — several different varieties of apples are in bloom, said Armock. Also, sweet cherries are nearly past bloom in some areas, he said. Tart cherries are in the flowering stage of bloom, as well as some varieties of strawberries and blueberries.

In fact, across the state, growers have been making preparations for “potentially the largest crop of apples and cherries that we’ve ever seen,” said Armock, who estimated the 2013 crop could yield between 30 and 34 million bushels of apples this year, from Traverse City down to the state line.

Read on for more, and here’s hoping their efforts at bringing in helicopters last night paid off. After the near total destruction of the apple, tart cherry and other crops last year, it would be a hard blow to stand.

View Ken’s photo on black and see more in his massive Leelanau slideshow.

 

4 Responses to “Frozen Fruit? May freeze puts Michigan’s fruit crops in peril”

  1. Mike Says:

    I hope not! We had a May freeze in Southern Wisconsin last year and it ruined the fruit crops. So far this Spring only my pear tree is beginning to flower. The others are still in buds. Last night it was 31, tonight the forecast is for 30. Let’s hope it doesn’t get any colder!


  2. OH NO! Not again. Please keep us updated… You are my favorite source for everything Michigan.

  3. farlane Says:

    Check out today’s post for an update!


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