PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - Research at the Washington State University extension center in Prosser will update the information apple and cherry growers use in deciding when to roll out heaters and wind machines to protect orchards from frost damage.
The center is starting a three-year $255,000 study funded by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission to modernize cold-hardiness models that are 30 or 40 years old.
The Tri-City Herald reports the work involves exposing cutting, buds and flowers to specific freezing temperatures. Then they are dissected under a microscope for damage.
The information will be available to growers on WSU's AgWeatherNet online service. In addition to frost warnings, it also will help farmers decide how much to prune and thin.