Mild Winter Bad For Fruit Trees

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

Warm weather could give fruit trees a false start on spring, which could cause damage to this year’s fruit crop.

"We're all concerned about it, but there's not a whole lot we can do about it," says Don Buyers, who is keeping a close eye on the temperature.

Right now, his fruit trees have gone dormant.

However, warm weather may give them a false start on spring. Buyers said, "Is spring here already? Should we start warmin' up and coming out?"

Without snow on the ground, which is a natural insulator, the ground and the trees can warm up too fast, jump-starting the process.

"It's not good,” Don says. “I mean, anytime you have this warm weather this early in the season. We've got a long ways to go to the middle of May."

Fellow Berrien County Fruit Farmer, Herb Teichman is also watching very closely. "My nerves are getting a little bit concerned because of the warm weather."

Should blossoms begin, and the weather turn sharply colder, the trees could face damage.

Herb says, "A sharp drop would be a problem. There's a fruit blossom in there without a coat on, and he's subject to getting frozen. So that's the thing I don't like to see."

He also adds, "That green tissue indicates that that has not been damaged, it's still growing and doing a good job."

It is a job that will be complete in the spring, if only winter would begin. "If it just goes gradual, we'll be ok. I'm sure," Don says.

The fruit trees including apple, cherry, apricot and others are dormant right now.

Too long a period of warm weather could ignite the budding process, which true colder weather would then damage.

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