Frost in June is harmful for orchards in bloom

Some areas saw frost Sunday night into the first meteorological day of summer on Monday, which is harmful for orchards in bloom.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 6:36 PM

Monday is the meteorological start of summer and some people woke up to frost. Many locations saw temperatures in the 30s Sunday night, which is why we saw frost in the higher elevations outside of the Mohawk Valley. These harsh conditions can be detrimental to the bloom of some crops, including apple trees.

The owner of North Star Orchards in Westmoreland says he was lucky to not have the frost Sunday night, but some farmers might not have been as fortunate. It all depends on what stage of bloom they're in. Mr. George Joseph said "If they're pre-bloom, that can have an effect. If they're in bloom, that's definitely the most sensitive time for any fruit tree is when they're in bloom. And if they are post bloom, then the small little fruit that has formed is going to be a little hardier. So there's a narrow window that I think most people escaped."

Mr. Joseph said he's lucky they had their bloom period last week when we had hot weather in the 80s and 90s. Mr. Joseph said "We had a very good bloom period. It was about 7 days. That's when we had that hot weather, 90 degrees. I think most of them got through the danger point, maybe higher elevations weren't quite to that degree of development."

To give you an overview, some woke up to temperatures near or below freezing in the higher elevations. One of our local Skywatchers, Deb from Hartwick, woke up to 32 degrees Sunday morning and she had frost on her car windshield. This is very unusual this time of year.

We were close to beating both the coldest high temperature on Sunday and coldest low temperature Sunday night. We only reached a high of 59 degrees Sunday and the record high is 58 degrees set in 2009. Sunday night we dropped to 36 degrees and the record is 31 degrees set in 1945. These values are from the Rome Griffiss Airport.

Hopefully we won't see another frost before the astronomical start of summer, but these orchards are prepared for it.

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