Did you know? Fruit trees go dormant – kind of like hibernating – in the cold of winter. Just like people, some trees are more tolerant of cold and some less so. That tolerance manifests as resistance to freeze injury. Uncertainty begins when warmer weather starts to set in with spring. Blossoms begin to swell and expand as the trees wake. The more the buds develop, the less cold-tolerant they become. It’s never the same from week to week nor from variety to variety, but the temperatures which will kill the buds (and therefore the fruit!) becomes uppermost in our minds this time of year! Cold nights are when we give thanks to the great sentinels you’ll see standing guard over the orchards: the wind machines.
These fabulous creations can stir the cold air which has settled to ground level with the somewhat warmer air which has risen. Running, they sound like an invading fleet of helicopters which never lands. They can change the air temperature at tree level as much as 3°– 4°F. That might sound small, until you realize that even a hundredth of a degree can be the difference between the freezing death or life of a fruit bud.