Aerial Frost Prevention is Key for your Routine
The United States is one of the top producers for apples in the entire world, second only to China. The state of Washington is the leading apple producer in the nation, with over 58 percent of apples being locally sourced from orchards and distributed to markets all across the world. This makes the process of maintaining the quality of the fruit for Washington’s producers and growers a necessity.
Winter temperatures in Washington have a median high of roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows that can on occasion dip below freezing. With fruit-bearing trees, it’s important to understand that some fruits may be hardier than others and therefore will be able to withstand a seasonal dip in temperatures.
With apple crops, some variances in temperatures are a necessary part of the ripening process, for example, cold nights transitioning into sunny days serve to help the process along. However, frost damage or fruit freezing can result in the apple’s tissue breaking down thereby reducing the overall quality of the fruit.
The coldest temperatures experienced in Washington range between below freezing and 30 degrees, ripe apples freeze at roughly 28 F, so it’s important to exact swift frost protections. In young or blossoming apple fruits, freezing can result in injury that persists throughout development and will appear as blemishes when the fruits are mature. Meaning a proactive approach is key.
In recent years many of Washington’s fruit growers and producers have implemented the use of helicopters into their frost prevention and protection protocols. Helicopters make use of the downdraught principle which results in a layering of warm air that can be circulated throughout orchards, keeping the ambient temperature above freezing. Helicopters have been known to effectively warm nearly 50 acres at a time.
Typically, apple orchard owners and operators stay abreast of impending weather conditions that could result in having a harmful impact on fruits or the trees themselves prior to blooming. FairLifts, a leader in providing access to reliable helicopter support for Washington’s fruit production and growth industries partners with local operators who have helicopters on standby that may be dispatched in less than a single day’s time. This level of on-demand accessibility is integral for crop warming application being executed in a timely manner because ripe fruit that experiences freezing on the tree may still be able to be saved if it’s not harvested or picked.
Local operators and pilots are certified for night flights as most aerial frost protection applications take place after dark and have experience with low elevation flights and possess the know-how to avoid causing indirect harm to the surrounding crops and fruit trees.
Unfortunately, there is no remedy for frost damage, and trees damaged during spring growth may need to wait until the following year to be harvested so enforcing preventative measures is crucial. Effective frost prevention is key to producing a quality yield for Washington’s fruit producers. FairLifts is the answer to scheduling helicopter frost protection and prevention services as well as other Ag-centric applications like crop drying and aerial chemical application to keep crops pest-free.
Keep your crops marketable by applying the necessary frost protections via helicopter. The fastest most effective way to keep your fruit trees warm and maintain the quality of your harvest.