Early warm weather, followed by cold, causing damage on fruit farms

Regional News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The early Spring temperatures, followed by much colder weather, is not helping farmers and their fruit trees.

The warmth put fruit trees ahead of schedule for blossoming, which isn’t a good thing because when the cold weather returned to our region, damaged some buds that are already exposed.

“It is very stressful because if these die, they don’t come back,” said Jason Coopey, co-owner of Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda. “I have a one-shot time of making the fruit happen and if these die due to the cold night, it is over.”

Farmers can put forward their best effort, but if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, the results are out of their hands.

“I used to wake up two or three times a night and check the temperatures and worry, but I found out it does nothing because I have no control over what the fruit does,” said Coopey.

Coopey said the change in weather is nothing new. He experienced it last year too, and discovered the buds that were still closed were the ones that survived.

“That’s how I had peaches last year, I had enough…. that were closed,” said Coopey. “That that was my entire crop. That could be the same way this year.”

Right now at Way Fruit Farm, peaches and plums are in full bloom, apples should bloom next week if the weather warms, and apricots are past bloom.

“There is not a single thing I grew on this farm that is not concerning, the only thing I’m not super concerned about is the strawberries cause they were still in the ground,” said Coopey.

If a bloom is damaged, Coopey said they can tell by checking the bud. A dead bud will turn brown, watery, and eventually fall off.

“Every time that you guys are at home enjoying those beautiful, early early, warm Spring days, just think that these are the problems those early Spring days cause,” said Coopey.

Despite the early bloom, farmers say do not fear because there will be fruit as there is always some that survives.

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