GUILFORD--Apple trees can withstand winter temperatures dipping below zero, but in the spring, sub-20 spells trouble.
“Last night here in Guilford, at least at the weather station we have in the orchard, we were at about 21.7 degrees,” said Jonathan Bishop, of Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford.
“We really won't know probably for a few weeks until they start to actually flower,” John Lyman of Lyman Orchards in Middlefield said of how the crops will fair after this cold stretch.
Bishop’s Orchards has 80 acres of apples. Lyman Orchards, features over 100 acres of apples, with an annual yield of about 50,000 bushels.
“If you figure a little over 100 apples a bushel, it's over 5 million apples,” noted Lyman, who said their annual apple revenue is typically about $500,000.
But, they remain cautiously optimistic with that this year’s crop will be fine.
“I think that, at the stage we’re at, and the temperatures we’ve had, I think we're OK, right now,” Lyman said.
The lack of consistent cold this winter has been more harmful to the more sensitive peach crop throughout New England and New York’s Hudson Valley.
“They never really hardened off because of the warm temperatures to the point where they were really set up to withstand cold temperatures,” said Bishop, a fifth-generation orchard owner.
“It appears from the cold, back in February, that we sustained some severe loss and possibly may have lost the whole crop,” said Lyman, who added Lyman Orchard's 30 acres of peaches yields an annual take of roughly $400,000.
Things can always be worse. Lyman Orchards lost 500 acres of peaches following one wicked winter in the early 1900s.