Freezing Temps Threaten Local Fruit Crops

Published 04/14 2014 05:59PM

Updated 04/14 2014 06:12PM

By Michaela MacDonald

LUBBOCK, TX -- Temperatures overnight Sunday hit a low of 31 degrees. There is a freeze warning in effect until Tuesday at 10 A.M., with temperatures in the 20s expected overnight.

One business closely watching the weather is Apple Country Orchards in Idalou. They say thankfully Sunday night's freeze was not low enough to damage their crop, but with more cold weather headed our way it's still a concern.

Apple Country Orchards has 6,000 apple trees and about 250 peach trees. Like many other places in the state, their 2013 crop was completely destroyed by unusually late freezes. Owner Cal Brints is hopeful that won't be the case this year. He gave us some expert tips on how to protect your fruit trees.

"One of the things that we've seen a lot of people do with just a few fruit trees is they string the large bulb Christmas tree lights into their trees and wherever there's a bulb shining that produces enough heat to insulate against freezes," he said.

"Of course another way is to cover them with a blanket or plastic, anything to keep the cold air off," said Brints. "It always helps to have a good high soil moisture before a freeze and it also helps if you'll just spray the trees down late in the evening or even into the night with water."

Brints says it actually wouldn't be bad to lose some of the apples because they do pay a lot for fruit thinning, but he's hoping they don't lose the whole crop like they did last year.

Last year, when the orchard lost their crop, they imported from orchards around the country to still be able to sell fruit.  Brints says they have worked to diversify their business with products like honey and jam so they are not as dependent on the apple crop.

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