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Fruit crops threatened by last week's cold temperatures

How the fruit crops held up after last week's chilly overnight lows.

LOWELL, Mich. — Fruit farmers had to battle last week's unseasonably cold temperatures for four consecutive days — a fight that was seemingly inevitable this year after the early onset of unseasonably warm temperatures in March, which caused trees to lose their winter hardiness and begin to bloom early. 

This had apple farmers like Aaron Roth doing all they could to protect their crops, even lighting a fire in the middle of the railside orchard to protect the fruit trees.

Credit: Red Barn Market Facebook

"The fire warms the air, pushes it straight up really fast and creates a wind tunnel down through the apple trees," explained Roth. 

The innovative flaming wind tunnel did exactly what it needed to do, pulling our warm air aloft down to the surface, saving at least some of the apple buds. 

Roth noted that two out of every five to six buds made it through last week's unseasonably cold air. While that does not sound very promising, Roth further explained that all they need is one bud to survive per cluster. 

That one bud per cluster is the standard come the end of summer. This is because each cluster can only support one apple to grow. 

Soon enough the bees will come and pollinate that bud and begin its transition to those delicious green and red apples. 

"So we still have a lot of viable bloom." Words that offered a sigh of reliefs for those worried about the crop.  

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