Dramatic Swings in Temperature Could Affect Delaware Fruit Crop - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dramatic Swings in Temperature Could Affect Delaware Fruit Crop

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WYOMING, Del. -- Recent swings in temperature in Kent County have caused some fruit trees to begin budding and blooming, a development that could affect some crops this year.

Just a day after temperatures reached the 60s, parts of Kent County received snow, a sign of how much the weather has changed in recent days. 

Mike Fennemore, co-owner of Fifer Orchards in Wyoming, said some peach trees had begun to show budding and blooms on their branches, which is roughly three to four weeks ahead of schedule.

"Those above average temperatures have kind of tricked the trees into that bloom process. We're still unsure what that's going to lead to," he said.

Fennemore said frigid weather in the coming weeks could damage or kill some of the peach crop, but if temperatures remained in the mid-30s to 40 degrees Farenheit could slow the budding process and potentially allow more of the crop to mature at a rate that is closer to normal. He said about 60 percent of the peach crop was lost last year after a frost and freeze in early April struck the orchards.

Kitty Holtz with the Delaware Farm Bureau said this year's weather patterns have been unusual, but they are issues farmers and growers have long dealt with.

"It's the history of farming. You have no control of mother nature and you just have to roll with it," he said.

Fennemore said he's not worried about the business overall since Fifer grows a number of different fruits and vegetables, including more than 30 varieties of peaches.

However, he'd still like to see more stable weather conditions for the peach crop.

"Once the bloom happens if they are killed off by cold or frost, you don't get a second shot at it," he said.

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