Our peach trees bloomed beautifully – starting the last week of March. They were loaded with blooms and looked so pretty. But on April 16 our temperature dropped below 30F and according to the experts that is where you start losing fruit. We aren’t sure at this point how much of the fruit was lost, but for sure some was affected. We will know more when the little peaches start showing up – or not. I took lots of pictures of the beautiful blooms. The cherries, plums and nectarines also took a hit, and the apricots are pretty much a total loss. It is rare that we get many apricots as they bloom very early so are often affected by a cold snap. Surprisingly, it isn’t really frost that hurts the fruit, it is just the low temperature. While you may have heard of lighting a fire around the trees, that doesn’t really work well as the fires can’t be directly under the trees, and if it is away from them, the heat just rises and doesn’t get to the trees. Some orchards have large sprinklers that they spray water on the trees and this freezes around the fruit or blossoms, making heat (I know that doesn’t make sense!). One of the best ways is to use large fans – almost like windmills. These fans can blow warmer air across the orchard. However, these fans cost a lot of money and are usually only used by very large commercial orchards. All of these methods are costly and it takes proper timing and monitoring of conditions for them to work. So we are just sort of left to hope Mother Nature will be kind and not freeze our fruit! In central Indiana, that is a rather large gamble. Since we planted our orchard in 2009 and started picking fruit in 2011, we have had one total crop loss and one year of only about 10% production. The other years have mostly been at maybe 20% with only one year giving us a “normal” yield.
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