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Michigan fruit growers emerge from seven nights of freezing temperatures

Julie Falk |

Last night, northwest Michigan saw temperatures drop down to as low as 21 degrees. For the last week, Michigan fruit growers have dealt with temperatures dropping below freezing.

District Extension Horticultural Educator, Nikki Rothwell with the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center said it is normal for spring to bring colder temperatures for one to two nights, but not in a week long span that fruit growers are currently experiencing.

"The data from yesterday (Tuesday), at the research station from sweet and tart cherries (shows) things still look pretty good and I suspect things at the research station will continue to look good because we only got down to about 30 degrees."

The research station is based in Leelanau County. 

Rothwell said the fruit growing season is about one to two weeks behind normal. In Antrim County, the delay in the season paid off when the colder weather came in. 

"We’ve on the very northern edge of Michigan’s fruit growing area so our development is always later than further downstate," Co-owner of King Orchards, John King said. "This year that has been a benefit because we didn't have anything blooming when it got extremely cold."

King said most of his crop will be okay, but there has been some damage on the cherry flowers.

Rothwell said it is too early to tell what impact the cold snap might have on the crop overall.

Tess DeGayner is a student reporter for WCMU News. She is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Journalism and Broadcasting. Her hometown is Fenton, Michigan.