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Spring freeze has local farmers worried about catastrophic damage to fruit crops

Crews at MacQueen Orchards will be using wind and fire to help protect the apple and peach trees
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - After the hard freeze we’re expecting this Wednesday night, fruit on the trees at MacQueen Orchard could be heavily damaged or even destroyed. That’s about 200 acres of apple and peach trees that bloomed ahead of schedule thanks to all the warm weather in recent weeks.

Crews will be in the orchards throughout the night Wednesday, using wind machines and brush pile fires to try to help the fruit survive the cold. Jeff MacQueen says his family’s business also took a big hit last year because of a hard freeze in May.

“We average 110,000-120,00 bushels in a normal year. We had just under 10,000 bushels last year, so less than 10% of our crop survived after the hard freeze. It’s kind of hard fighting Mother Nature, but we have to try something. We will be using wind machines and setting fires in small brush piles to try to help protect the fruit. We should have a great crop this year, if we can get through this week.”

MacQueen adds that the ideal overnight temperatures for the apple and peach crops here would be in the 30s and 40s through the end of April.

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