Western NC fruit growers assess possible damage

4/17/2014 11:30 AM
By Associated Press

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Farmers and agricultural officials in western North Carolina are working to assess possible damage to fruit crops from this week's freezing temperatures.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (http://avlne.ws/1eXMjH6) other plants, including the tulips at Biltmore Estate, apparently escaped major damage from Tuesday night's freeze.

Henderson County Cooperative Extension Service director Marvin Owings said of particular concern were apple trees in Henderson County. He said it will take a few days to get a good assessment.

Owings said he heard reports of temperatures as low as 27 in parts of Henderson on Tuesday night. The critical temperature for tender apple blossoms is 28, he said.

Henderson farmers, who produce 85 percent of the state's apples annually, cultivate about 5,000 acres in apples, generating up to $30 million annually.

Edneyville apple grower Greg Owenby estimated it likely would be early next week before growers could assess damage, but he said farmers may have caught a break from breezy conditions on Tuesday night.

"The wind was a benefit," he said. "You're worse off if you get that heavy blanket of frost."

At Biltmore Estate, the large tulip gardens survived Tuesday night's freeze, estate spokeswoman LeeAnn Donnelly said.

"The report is they look good," she said. "I think this weekend is going to be spectacular."

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com


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