Hail storm damaged local orchard

JOHNSTOWN – A hail storm earlier this month damaged at least one area apple orchard.

Todd Rogers, owner of Rogers Family Orchard, says hail from a storm July 3 severely damaged the smaller, younger apple trees on his farm.

Rogers said two sets of trees, one already producing apples and the other just planted, were hit hard by the hail, destroying apples on the trees or knocking them off. Hail also damaged bark on the trees.

The July 3 storm brought high wind, rain and hail throughout the Gloversville and Johnstown area. Some of the hail was roughly the size of golf balls.

Rogers estimated $5,000 in damage from the storm.

Rogers said his larger trees should still produce apples, but he may have to buy apples from other orchards to sell and use for making cider.

His biggest concern, however, is preventing a disease called fire blight, which could enter where bark was knocked off the trees. Rogers said he has treated the damaged trees, but time will tell if the trees get the blight.

Julia Stewart, New York Apple Association spokeswoman, said she has not yet heard about possible crop problems from this year’s storms.

“At this point in the season, apple growers keep their cards very close to their chest,” Stewart said. “If they are having a problem, they aren’t going to share it.”

Edward Pavlus of Pavlus Orchards in Fort Plain said the major storms missed his orchards.

“Everything is fine so far,” Pavlus said.

Jim Hoffman of Sand Flats Orchard in Fonda said while this time of year always carries the threat of hail, nothing has hit the Sand Flats farm yet this year.

“The crop looks excellent so far,” Hoffman said.

Statewide, Stewart said, there has been no cause for alarm regarding apple crops this year.

“We are not hearing any kind of hue and cry as of yet,” Stewart said.

Stewart said a crop projection report may be available around July 28.