Last winter’s polar vortex is still being felt at apple orchards across the state.
George Sundin - a professor of plant pathology at Michigan State University - says a number of apple trees were killed by the record-breaking sub-zero temperatures.
He says they've seen some issues in the ridge area…north of Grand Rapids, which is the largest apple-growing region in the state and in northwest Michigan, near Traverse City.
Sundin says apple trees are normally quite resistant to cold winters but the temperatures were so unprecedented and lasted so long that there hasn’t been this kind of a problem with winter killing apples in quite some time.
Sundin said Michigan orchards could lose hundreds of apple trees which he says is only a small percentage of the total; so the apple yield probably won’t be affected. However, he said, growers are being told to cut down dead trees to prevent disease.
Michigan ranks third behind Washington State and New York in apple production.