CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Our recent cold snap might be measured in days, but it could linger for farmers.
Alex DeMetrick reports fruit growers are especially at risk when crops and cold combine.
A few days ago, it looked like February was back again in Maryland. And after it stopped snowing, it got even colder. That cold snap had an impact.
“Did you have fun this morning? We made a big fire and roasted marshmallows with our 500 foot stick,” Dwight Baugher said.
Baugher taught his children fire can help save a fruit crop in freezing weather, and so can wind machines if conditions are just right.
Peach trees are a major crop at Baugher’s farm in Carroll County–most are ablaze with blossoms. The trees all seemed to bloom at once last weekend.
“But that 80 degree temperature, I never seen apples and stuff jump so fast, ready to go,” Baugher said.
And they were suddenly vulnerable to the return of cold weather.
“If we lose a crop in the land of tree fruit, you don’t get to go back and do it again. They’re not going to re-bloom,” said Baugher.
And so he reads the flowers for signs of damage.
“That’s a peach, but it’s not going to be–27, 26 degrees and the wind blowing–it froze that thing,” he said.
A certain amount of loss is expected, even helpful, by thinning excess fruit.
“So, if Mother Nature wants to take some off for me for free, that’s good. But it’s a fine line between a little and taking them all,” Baugher said.
Growers like Dwight Baugher say it will take a few days yet to assess the level of damage.
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