Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
Cold temperatures hurt Canadian fruit crops

May 8, 2008  ByMarg Land


frostdamage01May 8, 2008 – Fruit growers in
B.C. and Ontario are anxiously checking their orchards and fields to
see how badly they were affected by recent low temperatures.

May 8, 2008 – Fruit growers in B.C. and Ontario are anxiously checking their orchards and fields to see how badly they were affected by recent low temperatures.

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An apple blossom shows signs of frost damage in Ontario.
Photo by Margaret Land

In B.C., fruit growers in the Okanagan are reporting that up to 90 per cent of their potential harvest could be damaged through a combination of cold winter temperatures and a recent Arctic cold front that struck in late April.

According to a report in the Globe and Mail , cherry and apricot trees have been particularly hard hit. Grape, apple and peach bloom times have been set back two to three weeks.

Industry representatives believe Okanagan cherry growers have lost between 40 and 50 per cent of their crop. Some losses near Kelowna are near 80 per cent.

In Ontario, cold night temperatures April 20 to May 1 resulted in frost damage to apples, strawberries and asparagus.Some growers in Norfolk County are reporting losses of 50 to 75 per cent of apple blossoms. In the Niagara Region, growers on top of the escarpment experienced up to 95 per cent damage in some orchards, while below the escarpment, growers reported limited damage. In Essex County, growers reported about 50 per cent blossom loss in some varieties.

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The dark sections show the frost damage within the apple blossom. Photo by Margaret Land


According to a report in the St. Catharines Standard , no damage was reported on grapes in the Niagara Region, although many growers used their wind machines.

Frost damage in strawberries and asparagus has varied across Ontario, depending on location. Some early asparagus spears were completely frozen off. According to a report in the Chatham Daily News, Chatham-Kent growers lost their entire early season crop of asparagus. An apricot and cherry grower in the Cedar Springs area also reported blossom damage.


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