Adams County fruit farmers are hoping for the best after the weather dipped down into the 20s last week. The cold weather creates problems for early-blossoming trees including apricots and plums that have begun to bud after the warm weather in mid-March.
“It is too early to report on anything other than our early bloom on apricots and plums which went through some very cold nights when in bloom,” said Aubrey King of Twin Springs Fruit Farm. “We notice about a 50% loss on those. Nothing will have affected major crops like apples and peaches yet, and hopefully nothing will damage them. We’ll just have to wait and see. I had to wait a couple of days to get a fix on what resulted from the cold nights. We may not actually know the whole story on apricots and plums yet, however, as damage can show up later.”
Three Springs Fruit Farm partner Ben Wenk expressed similar concerns, saying “We won’t know for a while yet. It takes a little while for damage to be visible. I wouldn’t hold out hope for apricots though.”
“I am fairly certain the fruit crop is still in good shape on the trees. When the buds are first coming out, as they are now, they can withstand colder temperatures, down to the teens,” said local fruit representative John Rice. “When the blossoms open up in about two weeks, a temperature of 30 degrees can kill a majority of the fruit buds. So the real waiting game won’t start until after next week’s warmer temperatures. This applies equally to apples and peaches. Apricots are a different animal. They bloom in March, and four years out of five they are frosted out. That’s why there are few apricots grown in this area. Normal bloom for peaches is the third week of April. Normal for apples is the last week of April.”