Status of Palisade peaches after the freeze

Farmers prepared well using wind machines which blows warm air onto the vegetation in orchards.
How Peaches Faired After the Freeze
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 12:25 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Grand Valley experienced some freezing temperatures early this week. Which can have devastating effects on our local crops. However, farmers prepared well using wind machines which blows warm air onto the vegetation in orchards.

”Immediately after a frost event we’re gonna go out and do a preliminary evaluation,” said Charlie Talbott at Talbott Farms. “We did that today. I think we’re better than 80% and we may be 90% of what our full crop potential in this region would be.

Although as of now it’s looking good, Charlie said they are going to remain prepared for frost through the first week of May.

“I’m very pleased to report that a lot of what I’ve seen so far, we do have substantially most of a crop everywhere,” said Charlie. “There are a couple locations where the crop has been reduced or eliminated but fortunately those were on younger trees.”

Charlie said it’s good their loss is in their younger trees. He said in the first few years of raising a tree the focus is on the tree health and structure and less on the product, which in this case is peaches.

Charlie goes on to explain, they can tell what’s alive after a freeze by looking inside the blossom, or the flower, at the fruitlet.

“A nice green tall proud pistol standing up there and in the base of that flower is the fruit itself that is starting to develop,” said Charlie. “So we will slice through that ovum and if its a nice bright green it’s still alive. If its brown or black inside, that means its dead.”

Richard Skaer at Z’s Orchard says this freeze helped them a little bit by thinning the trees. He said if a tree is overloaded, it will either break or the fruit will be very small.

“Of all the blossoms on the tree you only want about 90% not on it,” said Skaer. “Pruning by thinning. That last 10% is what you try to nurture to grow for your product to sell.”

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