Mild Winter Concerns Farmers

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NORTH EAST, Pa. (Erie News Now) — Tim Burch can’t catch a break. Instead of pruning apple trees, the North East farmer spent Wednesday cutting up a beloved maple that fell victim to this week’s snow and freezing rain.

“My wife was in tears this morning seeing the tree in the front yard,” Burch said. “We all like a little bit of privacy, being so close to the country road. Good old tree had been here my whole life.”

But that’s not the only tree in jeopardy. His orchards are stuck in limbo.

It has really been a winter to remember in that it hasn’t been winter,” he said.

Because it’s been so warm, fruit trees are *weeks ahead of schedule, and if that keeps up, a cold March could kill a year’s crop.

“The apples shouldn’t blossom till May,” Burch said. “I have until May to worry about spring frost.”

So while most people hope for an early spring, farmers are praying for cold, looking to delay growth for a few weeks.

But as he waits and worries and cleans, Burch remains an optimist.

He’s seen it all before.

“I have a big mess to clean up, but the house is standing,” he said. “In the words of a farmer, it could always be worse.”


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