KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan has been experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures, putting the fruit crop at risk.
“Generally when the buds are swelling, they can take temperatures to 20 degrees. As buds start to open, temperatures of 23 to 25 degrees might hurt them,” Mark Longstroth, a fruit educator with the Michigan State University Extension, told News 8.
Thursday morning was the third in a row with temperatures in the 20s in West Michigan.
“By the time we’re in bloom, 28 degrees is going to hurt them, but it would take 25 degrees to kill them all,” Longstroth said.
Longstroth said survival depends on the type of fruit and the location. In southwest Michigan, stone fruit like apricots and the early blooming Japanese plums were just starting to bloom when colder weather moved in.
“Michigan’s a big state. We have a freeze down here in southwest Michigan and that might hurt us and Grand Rapids is not far enough along to be hurt,” Longstroth said.
Longstroth said it would be clear how much damage was done for a few days. He and his colleagues like to wait a day or two and visit multiple orchards to get a good look at the situation.
“It got cold enough to hurt some of our blooming fruit trees, but we’ll have to go out and actually look at the buds for the trees that were just starting to open,” he said.