80% of Ontario apples wiped out by severe frost

Other types of tree fruit crops, including cherries, peaches, pears and plums similarly impacted.

After severe frost several weeks ago, apple and other tree fruit growers across a large chunk of eastern North America were predicting that their crops could be all but wiped out.

Unfortunately, it looks as if they were correct.

It’s estimated 80% of the apple crop has been lost, said Kelly Ciceran, general manager of the Ontario Apple Growers, an organization representing about 215 of the province’s apple orchards.

Peter Geerts, who owns Birnam Orchards near Arkona and sits on the board of the Ontario Apple Growers, said the damage is Ontario-wide and even into Michigan and New York.

“Normally, when you get a frost like that it’s fairly localized,” he said. “But the whole Great Lakes basin has been hurt.”

In his 25 years of growing apples, Geerts said, “I’ve never seen it like this.”

(What have I been saying about fighting in the streets for food long before we’re covered by ice?)

See entire article:
http://www.theobserver.ca/2012/05/26/80-of-ontario-apples-other-tree-fruits-wiped-out

Thanks to Marc Morano for this link


11 thoughts on “80% of Ontario apples wiped out by severe frost”

  1. About cherries… a small producer, a couple of miles from me, said this year the crop of cherries is delayed by two weeks because of cold.

  2. Interesting situation in that some might say heat or some very warm temperatures came “early” kicking the buds into early development so when the frost came the nip then literally did nip things in the bud, at what some might argue was an early unexpected “budding” stage, before winter or sever frosts were over. That might be a valid point in some ways.

    • Strictly speaking about apples, in Trentino Alto Agige region in northern Italy,when frost threatens the blossoming of the apple, cultivators spray water on the trees which freezing protects flowers from further cold.

  3. Orchardists need that frost free time in spring or they lose most of their crop. One does not need much global cooling to cripple some agricultural sectors, just a week of cold northernly air flow at the wrong time.
    With scarcely any cooling we can get deep meanders of the polar jet-streams altering climate and upsetting agriculture. Farmers need to prepare for this.

  4. We have that stationary Bermuda high in mid-March to thank for this. It was a system that should never have developed at that time of year – months too early – which was basically parked off the Atlantic coast for almost a week, another anomaly. It contributed to the funneling of summer weather northwards in the interior of the continent, setting all kinds of records.

    A few warm or even hot days wouldn’t have triggered excessive bud development that early but with a protracted period of heat, the trees were given a false cue. Knowing that deep frosts later on were almost a certainty, it was only a matter of time before this resulted in tree damage. Unfortunately, it was much worse than most of us expected and may have long-term effects on young trees in addition to this year’s almost total crop loss.

    • So the question might be, was it “warming” or “cooling”, that caused the problem ? I know though, it was the timing. I just suspect those favouring a “global warming” view might say “warming” was the cause.

  5. Aren’t We talking about Canada here? Well, on Aug 1st, 1988 the family and I landed in Calgary. At noon the temp it was still in the 40s “F” and then on the way to Banff we ran into one heck of a snowstorm. So I was under the impression that in Canada it could get very cold anytime of the year. So what’s the big deal about some Canadian frost occurring in the month of May?

  6. while its rotten for the growers and follow on employment. things like this happen when you farm for a living.
    now
    recently they foud that windturbines, useless for much power..but they DO create a heat island effect, by keeping air moving.
    in Aus we used to use smudge pots of old fabric oil wood whatever to keep frosts away, in our big fruit growing areas. now they use powered turbine to keep air moving and stop frost.
    and for a personal expample in mid Sth Aus in a hot dry climate, I have had too many October frosts kill seedlings planted in the late aug/sept which is early spring. inc fruit tree buds etc.
    sometimes they will manage a second attempt to flower, fingers crossed for the canadians.
    ps New Zealand has a LOT of apples you guys could have. you have fireblight so do they, we dont, and want their imports here but the UN trade crowds forced us to import them.

  7. Given that apples and fruit trees like them actually fruit better with 70 days of coldish or very cold weather each winter, what we are actually talking about here is a frost coming after the budding/fruiting process has taken hold.

    We’ve had similar in England this year: March was very warm and mild, which accelerated flowering. April was cool and very wet and the first three weeks of May were cold and wet.

    Early spring and late winter is the killer, not generalised cold, me thinks……

  8. Lost all pears on one tree, but the plums made it. Upstate NY max freeze. 20f. I beg for global warming.

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