Cool spring weather holds back apple crop

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 6:23 PM EDT
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(5/17/19) - Cooler than normal weather the past few months is affecting the mood of mid-Michigan residents who are waiting patiently for warmer weather.

Crops are also being impacted in several ways, especially apples.

Pretty flowers expand across apple trees in Mid-Michigan.

It's a welcome sign to growers, even if the season is running slower than normal.

"The later we get into, closer to June, the less apt we are to have the severe freeze that will take away our apples," said Jim Koan, owner of Almar Orchards.

Apple trees are running about ten days behind schedule.

How that may impact the crop of the third largest apple producer in the United States is yet to be determined long-term, but short term it's a good thing.

"Some scientists say they play catch-up. And other ones say that sets them back a week of harvest," added Koan.

One variety that could take a hit that is not weather related is Honeycrisp.

Due to heavy production last year, Honeycrisp trees just don't have the energy this year to produce apples, as noted from the lack of blossoms on these trees.

Insects and disease are also keeping farmers on their toes.

"We spray everything organically, so we're trying not to kill off our "good guys", I call them, the predators, but yet suppress the growth of the pests which causes us economic damage.

And that balance is really tough," commented Koan.

One good sign is it looks like bees are getting busy pollinating, an essential part of a good apple harvest in the fall.

Based on what happened last year with lots of smaller than average fruit from hot & dry weather, if we have a more normal summer, growers expect to see less apples overall, but larger ones of higher quality, perfect for crunching into or baking a pie.

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