August 29, 2014

Freezing weather could hit fruit growers hard

Freezing temperatures are expected across much of Iowa overnight, which could cause some major problems for fruit growers in the state. Paul Domoto, a horticulture professor at Iowa State University, says the amount of damage will depend on temperatures.

“If it drops below 28 or to 28, we’re going see some initial damage,” Domoto says. “But if it drops below 25, we’re going to see extensive damage.” Temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s tonight, especially north of U.S. Highway 30.

Much of southern Iowa could remain above the point of freezing, though Domoto says it’ll be colder in low lying areas. Fruit growers have been worried about a freeze for weeks, as blossoms arrived about a month early this year. Domoto says grape growers shouldn’t be too worried.

“One of things about grapes, they have primary and secondary buds. So, we may lose the primaries, but the secondary bud will break and grow and depending on the variety, that can be fairly fruitful,” Domoto said. He expects a “radiation freeze” across much of the state tonight, which means plant tissue temperatures will drop below the air temperature.