Farmers say late bloomers could mean bigger crops

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) - With daytime highs reaching the upper 70s over the past week many plants and trees around the Grand Valley are in full bloom, but the cooler-than-normal start to spring has some blooms lagging behind.

Many growers around the Grand Valley, especially peach growers, are very optimistic about this year's spring. "We are absolutely thrilled that we have this kind of crop now," says Carol Zadrozny of Z's Orchard.

Last year, orchards lost on average, about 30 percent of their peach crops and all of their apricots due to an early warm up followed by a hard spring freeze. "This time last year we didn't have a lot of fruit left," says Robert Helms of Alida's Fruits.

This past winter had the fifth coldest December on record, and since then, the Grand Valley has taken its sweet time warming up. "The big difference is that we had a cool steady winter, we didn't have June in January and January in April," says Helms.

Early spring time temperatures have run below normal, but according to experienced growers, it's a good thing. "If we have a cold February, we're going to have a good crop," says Zadrozny. "If we would of bloomed this late last year, we would have had a good crop," Helms says.

Late blooms might put harvest behind schedule, but it gives crops a better chance of survival against quickly changing springtime temperatures. Temperatures which killed off all the apricots for the past few seasons. "We haven't had a good apricot crop in about three years and we have three acres and they look real good," says Zadrozny.

While almost all crops are three weeks behind, growers say that there is a chance they could catch up. Either way, Grand Valley residents will reap the sweet rewards of Mother Nature. "Colder winters mean warmer summers which tends to put a little more sugar in the fruit and give it a little better quality," says Helms.

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