Apple farmers prepare for another freezing night

Apple farms across Central New York Monday
are getting ready for another long night protecting their apple tree's from freezing temperatures.

Jamie McLusky
, of McLusky Orchards in LaFayette, says last week's combination of low humidity and freezing cold was damaging to many of the newly sprouted buds. "The plants actually looked freeze dried. I've never seen damage like that in the 30 or 40 years I've been doing this," he says.

Peter Fleckenstein at Beak & Skiff Apple Farm in LaFayette, says about 40% of the buds on their apple trees were damaged by last weeks frost. "We're still in the same boat
. We don't want it to go below 27 degrees. If it does, we could sustain a little bit more damage so we will be out with frost protection again," he says.

Frost protection on Beak & Skiff means burning fires in smudge pots and running wind turbines to keep cold air from settling on the valley floor. At McLusky's Orchards it means sprinklers spraying warm water to create fog.

All of these frost protections cost money
, and Fleckenstein says determining just how much money to spend fighting a frost can be a gamble. "We are doing our best to manage all of those costs down because you could quickly spend more than the entire crop is worth," he says.

Apple farmers say it is highly unlikely all of this years crop will be lost to frost, even so they say they aren't going to rest easy until temperatures this spring warm up for good.