Hope alive for valley’s peach crop

Most of the Grand Valley peaches survived the week’s cold snap, but a check on Thursday showed early reports of the demise of the apricot crop proving all too correct.

Forecasts of cold mornings on Tuesday and Wednesday after a bitter punch on Monday turned out to be pessimistic, said Harold Larsen, interim director of Colorado State University’s Orchard Mesa Research Station.

After cutting buds collected after Monday’s cold, it appeared that 60 percent of the Red Haven, Cresthaven, Newhaven and Berendasun peaches had survived, Larsen said.

“There was plenty of time to see discoloration” in mortally wounded buds, Larsen said.

No buds were cut on Tuesday or Wednesday because temperatures remained within the comfort zone for growers, who didn’t need to fire up their wind machines despite a freeze
warning.

“There should not have been much damage” those nights, he said.

Peach growers can still harvest a crop with a 10 percent survival rate of buds, but there still are several weeks before growers can relax at night.

Larsen’s apricot cuttings served to confirm what most growers already knew.

“There might be a live one here and there,” he said, but the crop overall is gone. 

Likewise, Japanese plums seem to be gone.

Larsen said he could find about a 3 percent survival rate among that fruit, which blossomed about the same time as the apricots.

Gala and Fuji apples appear to have weathered the cold so far, Larsen said.


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