Thu April 12, 2012
Freeze warning for most of region; more crop damage
The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for much of the region. It is posted for Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Genesee and Orleans counties from midnight Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday.
The greatest coverage of freezing and subfreezing temperatures is expected overnight. Temperatures will dip into the upper 20’s away from the Lakes to the lower 30’s along the Lake Shores.
This will once again have an impact only the already budding fruit trees and other sensitive vegetation.
The milder weather that forced an early spring, with cooler night time temperatures, has endangered the local cherry crop.
This again will have an impact on the already budding fruit trees from early spring weather.
Jim Bittner of Singer Farms in the Niagara County town of Appleton explains that the damaging temperatures are destroying early buds on cherry trees.
"If the flower is frozen, where the seed would be developed in the flower, if that is frozen and dies, it won't produce fruit," said Bittner. "Most of the fruit that we produce in this area has to have a seed, and what you are basically doing is the frost kills the seed before it has a chance to get growing. That would mean there would be no crop for this year."
On tree fruit, there is only one set of flower buds.
"On tree fruit, you have one set of flower buds, and if you loose them, you are done for this year," said Bittner.