Tuesday’s Frost Not the Last
After surveying local fruit growers and home landscapers I came away with the notion that Tuesday’s frost and freezing temperatures merely slowed down and failed to severely impact the growing season.
From the dogwood in our downtowns (like along Hambly Blvd in Pikeville) to the heavenly Redbud in Ashland and from the Crap Apples along Kanawha Boulevard to the Cherry Trees on the Hocking River in Athens, Mother Nature protected her prize trees and shrubs from the Tuesday morning chill.
Lows bottomed out in the 20s and low 30s area-wide with Charlie Smart from Fairplain WV (aka Little Fairbanks as in Alaska) reporting 24 degrees in his pear orchard and grape vineyard. “The little pears made it through and the grapes barely had some green leaves so they were never in trouble”, Charlie told me.
In Jackson Ohio, Steve Richards of the famous Richards Brothers apple orchards said the early apples did take a hit. “The Jonnies had about a 50% kill when the temperature dropped to 28 degrees. But we can still get a full crop out of them”, Steve said.
That may seem paradoxical until you realize that fruit trees naturally produce way too many buds and fruits than they need. In effect, nature must do some pruning on its own to reduce the excess fruit produced. Since fruit trees overproduce by 90%, it takes merely a 10% yield off the buds to make for a full crop!
Now for the surprising news!
One look at the calendar and you come away with the notion that it is still March. The long summer in spring weather pattern has us a full 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. Since the last frosts and freezes of the season typically occur in late April downtown and as late as mid May in the open country-side, it is clear that more frosts and freezes are to threaten before we can actually breath a sigh of relief and proclaim the growing season free of cold weather.
So take a cue from your local grocers who will not put out tender plants like geraniums and impatiens until Mother’s Day weekend. We have more cold weather to go through this spring. Like Friday morning when chilly north winds will again threaten our region with a March frost.
March? Are you kidding, isn’t it May yet?.