PHOENIX, Ore. — Early warm weather is having an impact on Southern Oregon orchards. The warmer than average weather so far this year made it possible for pear trees in the area to bud about 12 days earlier than on an average year.
Since the buds are appearing early, it leaves the trees and crops exposed during low temperatures at night.
Orchard owners will be monitoring temperatures closely over the next few months, and if they drop below 28 degrees they will have to use warming techniques to keep crops from being damaged.
Many orchard owners set alarms that alert them when temperatures get to a certain point. Most orchards in the area use wind machines to warm crops during the cold nights. The wind machines help to blow the cold air that settles around the pear trees.
“Growers need to pay attention to the forecast, be ready, make sure all their equipment is ready,” said OSU professor David Sugar.
Orchards in the area will continue to monitor temperatures.