Will There Be Locally Grown Apples This Year?
Later on last week farmers and agronomists were talking about the cold temperatures in the forecast and what the impact could be for corn and soybeans. We were not really concerned because the growing point of a corn plant is safely below the soil surface. It the leaves above ground freeze off new leaves will emerge from the growing point. Beans that are just emerging can survive temperatures well below 32 degrees and still survive.
There is a lilac bush by the studio that I noticed was just beginning to bloom Friday. I though it sure would be too bad if all the flowers freeze off. I enjoy smelling the lilac flowers. Then it occurs to me, what about our apple trees? Wouldn't they be flowering about now too? I do not know a lot about growing apples but I have learned a little bit over the years at KDHL. I did know that you kill the apple blossoms and you do not get apples!
I emailed Dr. David Bedford who is in charge of the apple breeding program at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Friday afternoon. David returned my email as said they were very concerned about the cold temperatures in the forecast. David said "apple trees are the most sensitive during the bloom period which we are just entering now. Temperatures below 32 degrees can start to kill the flowers and by 27 degrees the damage can be significant."
This next week I will check with a couple Apple Growers I know and David to see how widespread and significant the frost damage was.