Snowy, cold winter hurts Michigan fruit - The Packer

Snowy, cold winter hurts Michigan fruit

04/10/2014 02:54:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Apples likely made it through a cold, snowy Michigan winter in good shape, but other fruits may not have been as lucky.

Blueberries, cherries, grapes, plums, apricots and peaches could be among those affected, according to a news release from the Lansing-based Michigan Farm Bureau.

The extent of the damage will depend largely on what Mother Nature has in store for the next few weeks, Ken Nye, horticulture and forestry specialist for the bureau, said in the release.

“The best case scenario now is for us to stay cool as long as possible,” he said. “The way we’re set up right now is we might have the kind of spring we can get through without too much frost damage. That will vary by location.”

Snow can be a double-edged sword, Nye said. Deep snow cover helps insulate the ground. And, when it melts, snow replenishes both ground- and surface-water reserves. But the weight of heavy snows also can damage trees.

As for the cold, it hit younger fruit trees and more tender varieties of fruits hardest, Nye said. In addition, low-lying areas were affected more than upland areas and growing regions near Lake Michigan.

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