Premature Apple Buds Threatened by Freezing Temperatures

By KBJR News 1

April 16, 2012 Updated Apr 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM CDT

Bayfield, WI (Northland NewsCenter)
Apple orchards are reporting the earliest start to the growing season in recent history.

That's a problem on days like today when budding trees are hit on the head with freezing temperatures.

For Jim Hauser, growing apples runs in the family.

"I'm the fourth generation; my son that's working with us is the fifth generation."

He's never seen a spring like the one this year.

The premature season has given his apple crop a jump start.

It's a problem to the vulnerable buds that at this stage, can die with cold weather.

"I don't think it's going to be a total crop loss. It might be a small crop but I don't think it'll be a total crop loss"

He's not the only apple farmer that fears a light load.

"You've got to worry about the frost. As the plants develop, the bud out and once they start budding out they become very susceptible"
But there is a silver lining, in the white wintry mix.

Now you might think I'm crazy if I say that snow is good for a fruit tree, but it is.

When there in the critical half inch green stage like this bud right here, the snow can help insulate it from colder, overnight temperatures.

It's the only line of defense for the apples in the Northland.

"If it's down in the low twenties or teens there's not a lot that you can do"

But, for the apple growers of Bayfield confidence confides in those with experience.

Bayfield should see warmer temperatures in the next few days...which growers say is good news.

They say the apple trees should start blooming in the next two weeks.

Zach Vavricka
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