Cold temperatures won't have much of an effect on local apple crop

Low temps in the 20s are not enough to do harm to apple crops, experts say.

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 10:06 p.m.

ELKHART — Two nights of sub-freezing temperatures and even some snow won’t have an impact on local apple crops.

Low temps on Monday and Tuesday were forecast to fall into the mid to lower 20s, but the apple crop has not advanced enough to cause a problem, according to a spokesman for the Elkhart County Extension office.

Buds have just begun to swell and have not grown enough to become susceptible to cold weather, said Jeff Burbrink, Purdue University Extension educator at the county extension office.

“At that stage, for a 10 percent kill, you’d have to get down to 15 degrees,” Burbrink said.

Maureen Kercher, owner of Kercher's Sunrise Orchards Inc., in Goshen, also said they don’t expect any damage.

Kercher’s orchard has about 75 acres of apple trees.

“We don’t like it to get a whole lot colder than that, but those temperatures are fine,” Kercher said.

The company’s peach crop took a hit, though, from the winter’s extreme cold.

Kercher said they knew the crop was in trouble after temperatures fell about 15 degrees below zero in early January

“It’s difficult to grow peaches around here,” Kercher said. “If we get a peach crop one out of every two years, we consider that to be pretty good.”

Weather conditions on Monday turned sharply colder after a warm weekend.

Temps on Monday fell nearly 40 degrees from an early morning high of 66, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday night’s forecast called for a chance of accumulating snow, but any snow that remains after sunrise Tuesday was expected to quickly melt off. Highs were expected to reach into the mid to upper 30s.

Flurries are possible Tuesday, the weather service said.

The chances for record-setting low temps Tuesday are pretty slim. The record low in South Bend for Tuesday night is 19, set in 1928, according to Nick Greenawalt, meteorologist with the weather service.

Wednesday's forecast is for sunny skies and high of 49. Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 62.

The normal high and low for northern Indiana for this time of year is 59 and 38, respectively, Greenawalt said.

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