by Dwight Bradley
The recent ice storm that devastated parts of Quebec and New England was the worst in living memory. Ice storms in that part of the world are fairly common between October and April when the all above a warm front is above freezing, and the air below it is below freezing. What made this particular storm so bad was that the rain was heavy and lasted for many days, eventually building up as much as 1-2” of ice on trees. Evidently, a fairly narrow range of elevations was affected; ambient temperatures were above freezing at the highest and lowest elevations, but the middle elevations were below freezing so ice coated everything.
In large parts of northern New England, virtually every mature hardwood tree was either damaged or killed, newspaper account showed a 100-year-old maple sugar orchard which consisted of 15,000 trees, reduced to a stand of toothpicks surrounded by tangled branches. I have not yet heard any detailed reports on damage to apple orchards, but pictures I’ve seen of various fifty-year-old apple trees look pretty sorry.
All this has prompted me to wonder what I would do about it if the ice storm of the century were to strike my 80-tree apple orchard in Peters Creek, In other words, what would I do if I looked out at 5 AM and to see all the work I’ve put into the past six years threatened. I would be interested in getting your ideas. Here are mine.
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