Peaches likely OK after hard freeze

Two nights of below-freezing temperatures weren’t helpful for Palisade’s peach growers, but crop loss was likely held to a minimum, some growers report.

Apricots and sweet cherries, however, may not have fared so well.

“My apricot trees are better used for firewood,” grower Bob Helmer said. Helmer said apricots on his 75 apricot trees were roughly pea-sized when temperatures across the Grand Valley dipped to just below 25 degrees on Sunday, and then were hit with another round of below-freezing temperatures on Monday night.

Helmer grows about 100 peach trees, but also is supplied with peaches for his business, Alida’s Fruits, by C&R Farms and Nolan Orchards. Helmer said those growers also report that peach blossoms were damaged, but the overall crop should be healthy.

“Everybody I’ve talked to are not too concerned,” Helmer said. “We’re going to have a good peach crop this year. We have more good ones than bad ones.”

Addie Walcher, owner of Pear Blossom Farms, 3376 C Road, said most of their peach blossoms also withstood the chill.

“Right now they look good,” she said.

Walcher said she estimates about 50 percent crop loss on their apple trees.

“The cherries and the apricots got it,” she added, saying the blossoms succumbed to the freeze.

Temperatures strayed below freezing for 11 hours Sunday night, making a rough night for the Grand Valley’s fruit trees.

While the immediate weather forecast pegs nighttime lows for the next week above freezing, growers typically don’t truly exhale until May 10, the valley’s latest recorded freeze, Helmer said.

“You’re never out the woods until the money is in the bank,” he said.


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