Already Blooming: How ongoing drought threatens tree fruit growers

Below-average snowfall is a concern for tree fruit growers in Washington State.


Charlsie McKay

Washington has declared a state-wide drought emergency due to the lower snowpack levels. The President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association says growers are concerned because they can’t make the decision not to plant. Trees are already in the ground and blooming.

“So, generally what fruit growers do is try to work with their irrigation districts who supply their water to ration. And also do on-farm practices to ensure that they’re maximizing the available water for usage whether that’s doing on-farm ponds which a lot of orchards have in order to have water available for frost control. That also becomes useful in a curtailed water supply situation because you can store some of your water for after systems may have to be shut down early because of a drought, to have water still available to keep trees alive and healthy late in the season.”
Jon Devaney, Washington State Tree Fruit Association President

Devaney said close communication between farmers and irrigation districts will be crucial this growing season.


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