Cherry producers in the Northwest are likely to see dormancy break early this year, according to Washington State University experts.
AgWeatherNet’s cherry cold hardiness model forecast Bings “awakening,” or breaking dormancy, on Saturday, Feb. 8, in eastern Benton County, Washington, said Dave Brown, director of WSU’s ag weather information network, in a news release on Feb. 7. Some locations are even further along. A crop consultant found bud swelling earlier in the week in an orchard near Dallesport close to the Columbia River, typically an early site.
A cold fall meant trees achieved early vernalization, while a mild December and warmer-than-average January has accelerated dormancy break, Brown said. Unseasonably high temperatures forecast for the next week will speed up the process even more.
“So far, 2020 looks a lot like 2018 from a cherry weather perspective,” Brown said.
Growers are encouraged to watch AgWeatherNet’s model for awakening and rising lethal temperatures with each bud phenology stage at weather.wsu.edu/.