Marvin Pritts, a horticulture professor at Cornell University, explains how recent weather conditions have made this year promising for fruit growers.
“We are experiencing a good strawberry crop and anticipate an outstanding blueberry crop. Blueberry fruits have a waxy skin that sheds water so they are much less susceptible to fruit mold than strawberries and raspberries. They are thriving this spring.
“Three conditions have made this year a favorable one for most fruit growers, including strawberry growers. First, the winter was mild with temperatures not as extreme as in the past three years. Second, strawberry plants in most locations in New York were not yet in flower when the last frosts hit. Growers to the south were not so fortunate because plants were in full flower when the last hard frosts occurred, and this did considerable damage to strawberries, blueberries and peaches. Third, there has been ample soil moisture to enlarge fruits.
“This spring was not without problems. The cool temperatures have caused soil to warm slowly, so the season is behind normal in northern parts of the state. Too much rain also can be a problem. Growers have to be concerned about diseases and slugs when consistent rain occurs. Too much moisture and not enough sun also can cause berries to taste a little flat.
“We are experiencing more unpredictable weather and this makes it challenging for growers.”
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