The expected return of cooler temperatures will be a good thing for fruit crops and home gardeners. State climatologists at Purdue University do not believe recent warm weather is threat to the state’s fruit crop, but cooler temperatures will silence concerns that plants might be emerging too soon. Fruit trees go dormant in the winter until they register enough rest to begin blooming once temperatures exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the weather gets too warm too soon, fruit trees become more susceptible to injury if they bud out prematurely. State climatologists say that hasn’t happened yet, but there is a lot more weather to come before they know for sure what the fruit crop outlook will be. As for now, things appear to be in good shape. Indiana relies heavily on its fruit production. The Hoosier state currently ranks 10th nationally in blueberry production at 3.6 million pounds annually. Indiana also produces 26 million pounds of apples each year. The apple and blueberry crop is valued at more than $13 million.
“The plants will survive just fine,” said B. Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension horticulture specialists. “The longer the mild weather stays around, the more potential there is for damage when below-freezing temperatures return. Foliage that has popped up may be killed back, but the bulbs and storage roots should remain undamaged underground.”