Fruit farmers hoping cold temps don't damage crops

This time of year is a crucial time of year for crop growers in Michiana. Fruit plants started to pop in March during the mild weather. With Monday night seeing sub-freezing weather yet again, it is possible those crops can be damaged.

The Farm Manager at Lehman's Orchard in Niles said he prepared for the cold temperatures by spraying a copper-type spray on the sweet cherry, peach, and blueberry crops on Monday. That spray helps to warm up the crops by three degrees. That three degrees can be crucial when temperatures dip into the dangerous digits.

However, since it is early in the frost season, the crew is mainly relying on mother nature to run its course.

“A little later in the frost we use our ground water to warm up the area around the trees and the plants by spraying the surface of the ground,” said Steve Lecklider, Farm Manager of Lehman's Orchard.

Lecklider said the main crops they are concerned about are the sweet cherries, peaches, and blueberries. Those crops make up about half the acreage of the 55 acre farm.

“We’re hoping for a really good growing season. Compared to the past couple years, the peach crop actually looks fairly large,” he added.

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