Yakima Valley tree fruit growers escape frost damage

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YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC – MAI HOANG – YAKIMA – Despite low overnight temperatures in the last few days, Yakima tree fruit growers managed to avoid significant frost damage.

Temperatures dropped to the low 30s this week, with the National Weather Service issuing warnings about freezing conditions.

B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers, said one large cherry, apple and pear grower in Moxee he talked to stayed up the last few nights, but did not see any frost damage.

“I have not had any growers call me to let me know they have had frost damage,” he said. “When it does happen, I get lots of calls.”

Frost damage can cause a grower to lose a part or much of their crop, especially if orchards are in bloom. Local growers were prepared to run wind machines and sprinklers to protect their trees from potential frost damage.

“We had about four nights where temperatures dipped down to the low 30s in many locations,” said Frank Lyall, a Lower Yakima Valley grower who runs the Yakima County Farm Bureau. “It just wasn’t as bad as we were afraid it might be.”

Also, most of the cherry trees were not as sensitive to frost conditions as they were a few weeks ago, he said.

Most of the cherry blossoms in the Yakima Valley were “past bloom or just finishing blooming,” Lyall said.

Posted by: MAI HOANG, Yakima Herald-Republic, Apr 30, 2019