Cold weather a concern for fruit growers

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – It may be April, but it feels more like January. The cold temperatures may hurt some fruit crops.

Flinchbaugh’s Orchard has been nestled in eastern York County for more than 60 years.

“My great grandparents purchased this farm in 1950,” co-owner and operator Andrew Flinchbaugh said. “My brothers, sister and I are the fourth generation to operate the site.”

On Tuesday, the sun was shining, the peach trees were blooming. But looks can be deceiving.

“This morning, we experienced around 26 degrees Fahrenheit,” Flinchbaugh said.

Just a degree or two colder for only 30 minutes can damage the crops.

“[We could] potentially see a 90 percent kill of our blooms,” Flinchbaugh said.

It’s possible that could happen this week.

“It’s concerning,” Flinchbaugh said. “Fruit crops are one of the major crops we grow.”

It might not be bad as it sounds. Peach trees produce more fruit than they can handle.

“We are actually going to remove 88 percent of the blossoms from our trees purposefully,” Flinchbaugh said. “That does give us some comfort that the tree has produced more than what we will actually leave on there.”

Stone fruit farmers everywhere are hoping the cold temperatures will end up being a sweet surprise.

“You know, I guess optimistically at this point, we’re hoping Mother Nature did that for us,” Flinchbaugh said.

Other stone fruits could also be impacted; like cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines.

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