I have been asked about possible damage to fruit trees and vines with the cold weather. There are a number of variables to consider. So I went exploring. I talked to farmers I know and from various parts of the valley. We are talking about a large area with interspersed micro climates.
The Central and North Okanagan have considerably more snow than the South. This is important as snow is like an insulation blanket protecting root systems from cold temperatures and the even colder dew point or ground surface temperature.
Parts of the Okanagan valley have had a blizzard and cold temperatures with high winds affecting wind chills.. Some of the old guys like me say “It has been colder than this” – and that is true but the big old Mac Trees had bigger and deeper root systems.
If you go by which crops are the most vulnerable, the first to suffer would be grape vines, followed by apricots, peaches and cherries followed by apples. For those asking, in my opinion, which is part of a collective opinion of growers up and down the Valley is we are not at the level of damage yet. If this were closer to spring by six weeks it might be a different story.
I will know more hopefully after the BC Fruit Growers Convention February 11th and 12th. Even though I am retired, as a life member of the BCFGA I am interested in the industries well being. I will have a report on it’s health later. The truth is, we won’t know whether the buds have been damaged until the warmer days of spring at the earliest mid February. I’ll keep an eye on what the verdict is and keep you posted.