“We do watch the forecast very carefully this time of year,” Office Manager at Stony Ridge Orchard, Elizabeth Heppner said.
This is a story typically told in February, not April.
“Snow isn’t really a huge concern for us at the moment. The biggest concern is the low temperatures,” Heppner said.
We saw above average temperatures over the winter and now they’re taking a dive. When there’s a certain number of warm days in a row during the winter, crops start develop sooner. That can pose a problem for apple farmers if the weather gets colder.
“90 percent bud kill can occur between ten and eleven degrees, so the concern is getting down into the teens tonight and tomorrow night. It can have a little bit of an effect on some of the varieties that are further along in development,” Heppner said.
For the grape growers:
“The sap and the grape canes and trunks are made mostly of water. If the vines are unable to get that water back into its roots quick enough, it can freeze and split the trunk which would kill the trunk,” Lakewood Vineyards Manager, David Stamp said.
For both crops, the snow is not much of an issue.
When the temperatures get really cold, the snow on the ground can actually be a good thing. It acts as an insulator to protect the vine,”
At Lakewood Vineyard, grape growers won’t find out if this cold snap has damaged the vine until the summer. As a consumer, you’ll find out when you drink the 2016 vintage in 2017.
Over at stony ridge orchard, farmers should be able to notice right away if the green tissue turns brown, otherwise known as bud kill.
“We did have a warm spell. The buds seem to be a little bit advanced in some areas. We have been pretty fortunate. We’re not too far advanced we’re pretty much on target right now,” Heppner said.