The Effects of a Mild Winter on Our Crops

Mild Winter1

This morning at Weaver’s Orchard, the early morning sun is glistening off the snow covered trees and fields. Once again, we’re reminded that we are in the winter season – the time of year that our trees and plants need to reach the required number of dormant days so they are again ready to produce fruit. We have had many customers asking if the mild winter temperatures are harmful to the trees and plants. The temperatures many of us have been enjoying do not cause damage in any way to the trees, but what it does do is start the flow of sap up into the tree and trigger the swelling of buds that grow into blossoms. If this process starts too early then the buds and blossoms are more vulnerable to cold temperatures that can kill them, leaving us with no fruit. If the spring season comes early without abnormally low temperatures, then we will have fruit and we will all be happy! As always, the late winter and spring season is a risky stressful time for us. For our strawberries, we can protect them with floating row covers and irrigation, but there is little we can do to provide protection for our trees from frost. For now we will enjoy the mild temperatures!