It is a very good & logical question! With wind chills sweeping over our orchards this winter that dipped into -50 degrees and the huge amount of total snowfall, one would come to the conclusion that the harsh winter must have damaged our trees. BUT, we are so glad to report that the exact opposite has happened! We actually have the snow and cold to thank for a few things...
The abundance of snowfall created a type of insulating layer around our trees. Because the snow was so deep this year, it actually completely COVERED some of our young, fragile trees and about 75% of our mature trees (just the tops of our tall trees could be seen above the snow banks this year). Instead of the frigid temps of the polar vortex taking its toll on our trees, the snow protected them and now we have vibrant, healthy trees to boast of. So take back all of that cursing of the snow when you bite into a BAC apple this year!
In Winter, snow is just snow. In Springtime, snow is water, giving awakening trees the drink they need. We have seen what drought can do to an orchard, and we are so glad that it has been the opposite this year; a high level of precipitation has been great for our trees. The wet winter and wet spring we have had, has turned into a beautiful and healthy orchard. Everything here is lush and green.
Last, but not least, we have had a pesky pest bothering us and our apple trees in years past. The name of this pest is the Obliquebanded Leafroller (say THAT five times fast). The Leafroller lays egg masses on the leaves of fruit trees, which can contain 200 eggs! When these eggs hatch, the larvae feed on developing flower buds, developing fruit, and leaves. They like to eat...so depending on the stage that a tree is in, they will eat what they can! As you can imagine, we are not a big fan of the O.L. around here. So imagine (yes, keep on imagining) our surprise when we have not seen evidence of this pest in our orchard this year. We have a couple theories about the absence of the O.L., but our most logical one is that the polar vortex booted the pest out of our orchard. Thumbs up for the polar vortex!
The winter of 2014. While it was a long and cold one, with more snow than any of us wanted to shovel...nature used the snow and cold for good! We have healthy trees, full of young fruit...and we actually have the winter to thank for it!