Dubuque County fruit growers see some frost effects - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County fruit growers see some frost effects


When it comes to frost and freeze damage in flowering fruit trees and vines, it's location, location, location.

That's certainly the case with Dubuque County apple grower Dick Czipar. Despite low temperatures Monday night, Czipar said an overnight breeze and his orchard's location on a hill kept the delicate blossoms from frost damage.

Dave Cushman is an owner and grape grower at Park Farm Winery near Bankston. He said Tuesday morning the grapes looked unharmed, despite a low-lying frost on the ground. Cushman, too, said the light breeze and location on a hill helped protect his crop.

However, Bob Smith, who owns Stone Cliff Winery, said Tuesday his vines have sustained "relatively light" damage three times in the last week or so. He said his growing season this year has been, "at least four weeks early," and is concerned about a deep freeze occurring before mid-May. He said he could see a "total crop failure" this year if that happens.

In late March, Iowa State University Extension horticulture field specialist Patrick O'Malley said flowering fruit trees, such as apples, plums, sour cherries, peaches and apricots, are susceptible to devastating damage at the "critical temperature" of 28 degrees.

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