- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Fruit experts in Michigan say they’re concerned about the state’s fruit trees and bushes getting their buds out too early due to the unusually warm weather.

Michigan State University Extension Service fruit educator Mark Longstroth told MLive (https://bit.ly/2lq0z8i ) the warm temperatures will be “a little worrisome” if they continue and the buds start waking up in the region’s peach trees and apricot orchards.

Longstroth said that if the buds start swelling now, they could be vulnerable to cold temperatures later this spring.

Steve Tennes, owner of Country Mill Orchard in Charlotte, told WLNS-TV (https://bit.ly/2lq02mQ ) that an early spring could hurt his income.

“This is our livelihood for our family,” he said.



Tennes said he tries to prevent the trees from budding by using frost fans and experimenting with misting.

“Some of the protections that we have will cover a portion of our orchard but it doesn’t cover nearly even half the orchard,” Tennes said.

Amy Irish Brown, an educator in the commercial tree fruit industry with the Extension Service, said she doesn’t expect this spring’s temperatures to warm up to as high as they did in 2012, when the state’s apple harvest shrank from 980 million pounds in 2011 to just 115 million pounds in 2012.

“As long as our average temperatures stay at 40 or below, I’m not worried about it at all,” Brown said.

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