Tonight could be the night we talk about all year.
Hard freeze warnings are forecast across New York State for tonight, with predicted lows in the low twenties and teens in the North Country. Already the media is having a heyday and would write the crop off at 4:00 p.m. EST—even though the sun has not set yet. We are more than nervous to say the least.
Generally speaking, across the state the warm weather, as I mentioned in my last blog post, has put everyone on a similar schedule, all running at least two to three weeks early. The normal one- to two-week difference between growing areas has disappeared this year. Most of our apples are in three-quarters green or almost tight cluster, and we all know what 26°F and lower can do at that stage.
In the East, overhead irrigation for frost control is not common, and the massive propane heaters that I have seen in the West are not as common, either. Typically, our frost control is in the form of water….the lakes that hold us back each year and out of the early frost season. This year, the warmer-than-normal Lake Ontario water and the winds blowing out of the north across the water may have the opposite effect and keep us warm enough and out of serious damage. Unfortunately, only the areas close to the lake would have any chance of being helped by this, while the other areas would not.
I keep saying G.W.W.P. God Willing and Weather Permitting, a crop will be made! Stay tuned.