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Local

Orchard owners watch for damage after freeze

Extra work for Putnam County family over the Mother’s Day weekend

Blooms on an apple tree in Peru did not, to an untrained eye, appear damaged by a very brief freeze Saturday morning. Area orchard owners will be waiting to see how they fared.
Blooms on an apple tree in Peru did not, to an untrained eye, appear damaged by a very brief freeze Saturday morning. Area orchard owners will be waiting to see how they fared.

GRANVILLE — A freeze early Saturday morning, May 9, and temperatures in the low 30s at the end of the weekend caused a Putnam County family to look for damage to apple blossoms and some of their produce this week.

Denise Boggio said her family picked asparagus a little bit shorter than usual on Friday so it would not freeze and still could be sold to people who made orders and others who stopped by out in front of Boggio’s Orchard between Granville and Mark. The freeze might stall the asparagus harvest for a few days.

On Saturday, she was busy watching her grandchildren, but said she and her family will be checking over the next couple of days to see how much damage came from the late-spring freeze that affected much of northern Illinois and even areas to the south of Putnam County. She said the effects might be different at the family’s gardens at Granville than those at Hennepin, on lower ground about four miles to the west.

Temperatures fell to 32 degrees by 4:30 a.m. Saturday at Illinois Valley Regional Airport in Peru, then 29 degrees at 4:55 a.m. and then rose to 32 degrees between 5:15 a.m. and 6 a.m., according to National Weather Service.

“We were in full bloom,” Boggio said of the orchard’s apple trees. She said the trees live on hilly terrain, so some may have more damage to blooms than others, and some might not have any damage. “It’s a waiting game now.”

Prior to the freeze, the Boggios applied a spray to the blooming trees that’s designed to kill a bacteria that can cause more damage to blooms during a cold snap. She said there have been freezes before when the trees are in bloom, and when it happens, sometimes the trees produce apples on top and none on the bottom, or vice versa.

Boggio said she anticipates losing green beans that were planted early, but doesn’t expect to lose a lot of the other produce. As for the orchard, the plum and cherry trees were done or almost finished blooming in Putnam County, so the harvest loss there might not be severe.

On a positive note, Boggio said bees from 14 hives will be busy pollinating around the orchard.

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