Pear blossoms about to reach vulnerable stage

Medford, Ore. — Southern Oregon’s Agriculture industry is gearing up for a busy season.

Pear season is just getting started, but so far, the trees are doing well.

It’s once the pears start to bloom in April that they’re in their most vulnerable state.

The song of birds means spring is officially here.

And spring, means it’s time for fruit trees in the Rogue Valley to start blooming.

“This is a whole little clump of pears,” Eden Valley Orchards owner Anne Root said.

Pears have remained a staple agricultural product in Southern Oregon.

Eden Valley Orchards is just one local place where the heart-shaped crop has been growing for years.

“These are the first orchards planted in Oregon for commercial pear orchards,” Root said.

Anne Root is an owner at the orchard.

She says the pear blossoms are doing well so far, but the real test comes in the next few weeks.

Frost or hail, could completely wipe out the harvest.

“As we start to see 28 degrees, 32 degrees, depending on where the pear blossom is, you can have damage, you can even lose an entire crop, or you can have damage to the eventual finished fruit,” Root said.

Root says there are ways to protect the temperature-sensitive bloom.

Her orchard uses a method called water-applied irrigation.

“You spray everything down with water that freezes, and as the water freezes, it puts out heat, which actually protects the blossom,” Root said.

According to Root, Eden Valley Orchards usually has to protect the blossoms from cold temperatures three times per season.

But when the pears aren’t in bloom, the four seasons are what make the valley such a perfect place to grow crops.

“We’re blessed. We have a nice full four seasons and so pear trees need to get cold in order to produce, and so temperatures get low enough so we can keep that cycle of our fruits,” Root said.

Thankfully the winter has provided and now it’s spring’s turn to step up to the plate.

“We’re quite happy to put winter behind us right now, and not have to revisit those cold nights,” Root said.

Eden Valley Orchards also grows grapes for wine.

Root says if you lost grapes to a frost, you’d have a second bloom, but with pears you only have one chance.

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