Did the winter and frost hurt local fruit farms?


ROSEDALE, Ind. (WTHI) – Well, the Wabash Valley is full of corn and bean fields that have kept farmers waiting for nice weather to safely plant.

But there are some local fruit farmers that have the same worry and their crop is already in the ground.

Every season at Ditzler Orchard is a season that brings hope for a fruitful growth of juicy apples and berries. But sometimes Mother Nature takes tips from granny smith the sour of the apples.

“All you need is a degree or two to make a difference between losing 90 percent of your crop or 50 percent of your crop,” said Judi Ditzler, Ditzler Orchard.

Ditzler said that has already made an impact after a harsh winter will lead to less local fruit.

“The thornless blackberries this year will be dead,” explained Ditzler.

There is sweetness in sight though after the winter slowed the bloom of some particular fruit down, it actually helped them stay safe from our recent record low morning.

Ditzler said, “Because the weather has been cool they have not grown much. The flower buds for the most part are in the ground and protected from this cold weather that we’ve seen this week.”

But even maintenance depends on the right weather to keep the crop on pace for a healthy bloom.

“The straw helps keep the ground at a more consistent temperature so freezing and thawing, warm days and cold don’t affect them that much,” said Ditzler.

But even though some fruit is protected from the core of cold air, The Ditzler’s say they still are vulnerable this year until apples and berries are full grown.

“We are never out of the woods until we have fruit set. As long as you have things blooming, there is always a possibility of a cold snap that could hurt the bloom.”

Ditzler Orchard is already open for the season but won’t be in full force until berry and apple season is ready for picking.

They say they spent the winter pruning trees and gearing up so if the weather cooperates they’ll have a full production of fruit for the Wabash Valley.


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