Monthly Archives: February 2014

Ice and fruit trees

Now we’ve seen it all this winter.  Sub-zero temperatures, a big snow storm (over 18 inches here), and an ice storm that brought this end of the county enough tree damage to keep us out of power for 4 days.  It was fun for the first 2 days, bearable for day 3, and by day 4 we piled in with Mom and Dad!  We haven’t seen a winter like this in a long, long time!

So what’s it all mean to the fruit trees?  In my last post, I described the risks to the strawberries and peaches.  It is still too early to tell what kind of damage we may have seen there.

But one problem we probably don’t have is broken limbs due to ice damage.  Fruit trees are pruned annually, and are maintained so that they can support huge loads of fruit.  I strapped on the snowshoes and did some scouting this week, and as expected, there was very little damage to the trees.  Especially since almost all of the apples have been freshly pruned.

The other good thing about the snow is that it helps keep the roots of the trees cold.  When the roots are cool, the trees are less likely to get tricked into “waking” during the several-day warm spell this week.

Of course, the bad thing about the snow is that the local school districts here are up to something over a week of extra time into the summer vacation.  Which means that a lot of our pick-your-own strawberry customers may not be ready by the time our crop is ready (assuming the crop made it through the winter)…  So there is still plenty to worry about!