This winter’s deep freeze may damage summer crops and landscaping

ST. LOUIS – After a relatively mild and steady winter, we reached this stretch of extreme cold that took a while. That could mean damage to summer fruit crops and landscapes.

When temperatures drop to zero, farmers expect damage to their fruit crops. Dave Thies of Thies Farms and Greenhouses says his biggest concern is for his peach trees.

“They are notorious and well known that if we go into zero we will lose some of our buds for this year,” said Thies.

There is a rule of thumb according to which he anticipates the damage.

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“For every degree below zero, you lose roughly 10% of your harvest. So if the three of us met downstairs, we would have 30 to 40 percent less fruit on this tree than we normally would, ”he explained.

Strawberries tend to be harder and covered.

“We are trying to protect this crown that is above the ground so that it is covered and the little blanket of snow that we have will be very useful in protecting it,” Thies said.

As for berries, if we approach zero, they can also be damaged.

“It is difficult for blackberries and raspberries to survive with the full harvest,” he said.

Good news for the fall apple harvest, they are tough and can withstand cold temperatures. Plus, they’re deeply at rest.

The constant January temperatures with little fluctuations can help keep the damage from the recent Arctic explosion to a minimum.

“Where you jump to 60, 65 degrees and swing back and cold and back and forth. With some perennial plants this is more difficult than with constant cold like in January, ”said Thies.

But maybe we are missing some of our favorite plants in our landscapes in spring and summer.

“Roses, probably some hydrangeas. Even some perennials, if they are not mulched properly, we could see some damage to them, ”said Thies. “Especially everything that is raised, not in the ground. If I were a bettor, I would say they won’t make it through winter. ”

But one good thing with all that snow is that it acts as a blanket to isolate roots and canopy.

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