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» January 24, 2007 «
Losses to California citrus crops will be at least $800 million according to California Citrus Mutual. They reached that number after talking with citrus growers. However, there are pockets of citrus groves that have undamaged fruit. Farmers will pick and ship that fruit to market, but whereas the navel orange season usually runs into June, the season will end early this year. Likewise the Valencia orange crop has significant damage that won't be revealed until it is ready for harvest in spring.
Some of the coldest temperatures in wine grape growing regions last week were reported in San Luis Obispo County. The agricultural commissioner says three-degree temperatures were reported in some vineyards, along with temperatures below 10 degrees for extended periods of time. Damage to grape vines won't be known until spring when dormant plants begin to grow. Overall the commissioner says preliminary damage to all San Luis Obispo County crops is $26 million.
Orchards, which usually have plenty of moisture this time of year, are dry as there hasn't been much rain this month. Farm advisors are suggesting farmers do a winter irrigation to help prepare the trees for bloom. For growers with wells this is not a problem as they turn on their pumps. But in the San Joaquin Valley some farms rely on canal water. Many canals are dry this time of year, and it is uncertain when water will be available.
Farm advisors are suggesting urban residents wait until spring before pruning trees damaged by recent freezing temperatures. Newly planted citrus trees may survive, but it is best to check below the bud union in April or later. Frost damaged fruit should be picked as soon as possible. Advisors say it is best to wait until spring when new growth will show the extent of damage. Additional advice is available from county cooperative extension service offices.Top