This is going to be a disaster if it keeps frosting like this:
When you were basking in record warmth last week, farmers were worried. They knew the abnormal weather was making some plants vulnerable when seasonable weather returned.
On Monday night, their fears were realized.
“It got down to 21 degrees in some spots. On apples, we could have lost as much as 10 percent,” said Chip Hardy, owner of Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis. “If it had gotten down to 15, we could have lost 90 percent, so we were lucky it didn’t get that cold.”
The problem is that trees and bushes were fooled by a stretch of 80-degree days last week, producing their flowers roughly a month earlier than usual, leaving frost-sensitive buds exposed.
Fruiting plants from apple and peach trees to blueberry bushes and grape vines are vulnerable, as are some decorative plants such as magnolia trees.
“I’m also worried about your hardwood trees that have started to grow buds,” said George Hamilton, UNH Cooperative Extension educator. “I don’t know what the critical temperature is that kills those new growths.”
That was a couple days ago in NH, but the same thing is playing out right now where I live. We’re supposed to get down into the 30-32 range here tonight, and everything has bloomed- all the fruit trees, etc. Could be a real disaster, and will lead to serious, serious economic pain for farmers and then, of course, consumers. I was actually considering putting in some plants the other day, but I guess I will just start getting everything into flower boxes in the basement under grow lights and controlled temp until the middle of April.
We also had so little snow that I wonder about the impact on the water table and whether or not we are going to have an unseasonably wet or dry summer. Neither is good news.