Cold weather delayed bloom, growers welcome the rain

FRESNO, Calif.

Growers welcome the rain because warmer days are still needed to get the blossoms to open.

Nectarine, peach, plum and almond blossoms have begun to pop around the valley. Cold weather has delayed the bloom for about a week. Reedley grower Wayne Brandt approaches one of his favorite times of the season.

"I think everybody's attitude changes when there's blossoms and there's water in the ditches." Brandt said. "That's a very positive time of year."

The rains and overcast skies don't worry Brandt at this point because most of his trees have yet to blossom, which is the case in many parts of the valley.

"It's not a big concern. Usually we have rain during bloom time. This is not unusual. We have some modern fungicides that we use to prevent blossom blight." Brandt said.

Winter's wet and cold start created a healthy snowpack but we've had a dry January. The snowpack has dropped to 78% of the April first season average. But Randy McFarland of the Kings River Water Association says there's time to turn a good water year into a great one. "As always at this stage of the season, future weather holds the key as to how the season is going to turn out."

McFarland says recent flood releases have put local reservoirs in a good position to handle additional snowmelt. He also projects a good irrigation season for the valley's east side, or the Friant and Kings River service areas.

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