ON THE FARM: How Michigan peaches were impacted by the April Frost

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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WLNS)— The April cold temperatures caused a major concern among Michigan farmers. Although, several areas of Michigan were hit by a cold-frost many crops faced minimal damage, and were saved by the farmer using different techniques.

Steve Tennes, co-owner of Country Mill orchard in Charlotte grows pumpkins, apples, and peaches. Tennes says April’s freezing temperatures impacted more of his apple crop than his peaches. He says his orchard invested in different techniques this year to keep all of their crops warm…and ultimately saving his peaches.

“Orchard fans takes the warm air that rises out of the orchard on a cold-still night, and it takes that air and blows it back down into the orchard covering about 10 acres,” Tennes said. ” It warms the temperature two to three degrees just enough for the flowers that were here before the peaches to not freeze. That process worked for us, saved our crop, and allows us to have local peaches for people to pick.”

Tennes says if a peach tree is frozen, and crops get damaged a farmer has to wait until next spring to get a fresh batch of peaches.

“Over here at the Country Mill we were fortunate enough to warm the orchard up enough this last April and May. So we have a full-crop of peaches we are still actually picking even this Labor day weekend.”

Fruit farmers need to have warm, dry and calm weather in order for pollination to take place to have a good year of fruit crops.

Farmers can save their crops by covering fruit trees with a blanket, or sheet, when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

The frost impacts young trees differently compared to adult mature trees. Some trees will be able to stay healthy if there’s just one frost scare in spring. However, if freezing temperatures continues it will be hard for trees to survive.

“We’re glad we had a good peach season at the Country Mill despite the harsh weather earlier this year,” Tennes said, “You can still come out and pick peaches this labor day weekend.”

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