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Fruit harvest 80% lower than average at Capitol Reef National Park

Posted at 7:07 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 21:07:27-04

TORREY, Utah — While August is usually filled with ripe peaches, apples and pears, this fruit-picking season looks different because of a cold snap in April.

Night temperatures dropped below 32 degrees for several days in a row on two separate occasions in April. This came at the same time the orchard was blooming, which resulted in many of the blossoms freezing and dying before they could develop into fruit.

In keeping with the preservation of the historic district, the National Parks service uses historic fruit production methods to maintain the orchards. Thus, tools to limit impacts of sudden frosts are very limited.

“Fruit yields this season are approximately 80% lower than average” said park Horticulturist Fritz Maslan.

Wildlife activity and a break in the irrigation line also contributed to the limited harvest and stress on the trees.

According to a press release sent out by the park, "Late season Elberta and J.H. Hale peach varieties will be very limited compared to past years. Early season apple varieties, namely Ginger Gold apples, have been similarly affected. Late season apple and pear varieties were less severely affected, though harvests will be less than usual."

For more information on the orchards, click here.