SW MI Growers And Farmers Still Reviewing Freeze Damage
Michigan farmers and gardeners are still reviewing the effects of last week’s back-to-back nights of freezing temperatures. Some experts are now saying it could be up to two weeks before the full impact of the cold can be determined.
Here in southern Michigan, the mercury dropped to as low as 23 in the Battle Creek area overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday. The following night it was close to that at 24. Readings varied somewhat across the lower peninsula based on elevation and winds.
The Michigan Farm Bureau's news website reports at least one area, West Olive, not far off the Lake Michigan shoreline near Grand Haven, was hit with a low of 21 degrees. That’s more than enough below the freezing mark to leave crop damage. The Farm Bureau reports the executive director of the Michigan Blueberry Commission says Lake Michigan shoreline counties once again, for the most part, were helped by the big lake. Kevin Robson tells the bureau, “Southwest Michigan by the lakeshore fared better because of the cloud bank that forms because of Lake Michigan. We’re fortunate for our Great Lakes in times like these.”
Recent weather conditions he says helped present the potential of greater than normal damage. “Another tough deal is the fact that we have had minimal moisture or low temps with no ‘frost,’ which is a tougher freeze than if there were moisture. But most of the blueberries in the region last week, were in what is referred to as “tight cluster”, where buds hadn’t opened yet offering a bit more protection.
The bureau reports cherry producers may not know the extent of the damage to their potential harvests until as late as mid-June. Most gardeners in the area will know as early as this weekend about damages as everything thaws out and flowers and buds of trees and plants either show normal color or the browns and black created by a freeze.