Warming weather causing tree fruit concerns

An extension specialist is concerned about the impact warm winter weather could have on fruit crops.

Nikki Rothwell with Michigan State University Extension tells Brownfield, “This weather quite frightens me.”

Rothwell oversees the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Traverse City which experienced several days near or above 50 degrees in the last week.

“Trees don’t come out of dormancy on a dime, but these things don’t help in terms of sustainable, long-term management of these perennial cropping systems,” she says.

Rothwell says increasingly warm, wet, dry, and cold weather fluctuations can limit the lifespan of orchards and could be causing more tree deaths in the region.

The MSU AgBioResearch station includes nearly 140 acres of sweet and tart cherries, wine grapes, apples, plums, and hops.

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