Apple growers in Indiana examine crop injury – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
DANVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Fruit growers across Indiana are examining their crops for damage today after the snow and cold brought an undesirable sight to their orchards on Tuesday. The Indianapolis National Weather Service says the temperature at Indianapolis International Airport dropped to a record low of 27 degrees overnight.
In Hendricks County, Beasley’s orchard owner Calvin Beasley inspected his 25 acres of apple trees and 4 acres of strawberries on the family’s U-Pick farm.
“We had a low level of 26 here on the farm. I think we were probably at this temperature for less than an hour. But right now the apple trees are in full bloom and your critical temperature in full bloom will be 28, ”said Beasley.
He says that trees at 28 degrees suffer a 10% crop loss. The colder it gets and for longer periods of time, the worse it gets.
“One of the people who work for me has been here for almost 30 years and has never seen anything like it,” said Beasley, who runs the 75-year-old farm.
Beasley says he hoped the three inches of snow the orchard received provided a protective barrier for the delicate flowers and buds.
“We hope it actually covers the buds enough of the ice to trap them and actually traps some of the heat in and prevents it from escaping into the atmosphere,” said Beasley.
Fruit growers often water budding trees in early spring when temperatures are expected, but he’s not sure if snow on blossoms will have the same effect.
He’s also trying to protect his four acres of strawberries. Beasley had a crew of workers in the field in front of the snow to put straw on the crops and create a barrier.
“We’ll leave the straw on the strawberry until tomorrow morning and start removing it tomorrow,” said Beasley.
Beasley says he grows 30 varieties of apples that bloom at different times. He says that later flowering trees are a little harder and can take less damage. But right now it’s a waiting game.
“Experience has taught us that it is better to wait,” said Beasley, who says the forecast calls for cold temperatures again Wednesday night, but not quite as cold.
“I think in the late afternoon (Thursday) the snow melted. And then to make it easier to get around the trees and look at things, ”Beasley said. “Then we’re really going to do a detailed analysis to see how we got through this whole thing.”
The National Weather Service says the airport has received two inches of snow. Though rare, it’s not a record for late-season snow. According to the NWS, the last measurable snowfall in Indianapolis was May 9, 1923 when 0.9 inches of snow fell.