WEXFORD (KDKA) — At Soergel’s Orchards in Wexford, plants and produce are a big part of their business. When the Spring weather brings freezing temperatures, they have to make adjustments.

Randy Soergel says a freeze will kill buds and flowers, but probably not most plants.

“If your new growth is the buds, like your lilac buds and they froze, the plant isn’t going to die, but your flower is going to be dead,” said Soergel. “We damage the new growth, but we don’t kill the plant.”

Soergel says he’d already lost this year’s peach crop due to freezing temperatures in spring, and the apples are at risk.

“The flower bud that’s going to be the apple, if tomorrow it gets frozen, on the inside it’s going to be dead like this, so we will lose the apple for this year because it won’t produce again to next year,” he said.

He understands there’s not much he can do to save the crop, only hope for the best.

“When you’re in the farming business, you always worry, but God’s in control and we really can’t do anything about it,” said Soergel. “No matter how much worrying I do tonight, it’s going to be 18 degrees tonight or whatever they call for, and I’m not going to be able to change it.”

With temperatures expected in the teens overnight, plant expert Randy Soergel recommends bringing plants inside, into a garage or a greenhouse. For plants that are outside, Soergel said, if it snows, don’t remove that snow, it could actually be a layer of protection.

“The snow is like putting a blanket on,” added Soergel, “and it’s going to keep the warmth from the ground in, so don’t take the snow off whatever you have in the ground.”

“I’m praying for snow,” he laughed.  “I want three inches of snow, that’s the best scenario that we can get.”

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Lisa Washington