As the weather begins to warm, fruit farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as their orchards have made it through the worst of the freezing season that could wipe out their entire crop and livelihood.
Utah State University Extension fruit tree expert, Mike Pace, said the orchards in Utah will most likely be fine as the freeze season ends in the next seven to 10 days.
“Fruit can actually get down to about 28 degrees Fahrenheit until we see damage to those," he said. "The 28 degrees is the critical point and then they can actually get down to 25 degrees until we get total fruit loss in the trees.”
Pace said he welcomes the freezing in small increments, saying it helps prune the unwanted blossoms that could result in overcrowding.
In addition to the below-freezing temperatures, Pace said fruit this time of year often faces the danger of hail.
“What that looks like is a lot of times that fruit is developing and the hail makes little pock marks in the fruit," he said. "So, we’re seeing a little bit there as far as some of the later fruit which most people are concerned about like the peaches. They still look good.”