Drought, warm spring and below freezing temps have hurt this yea - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Drought, warm spring and below freezing temps have hurt this year's apple crop

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Mother nature has taken a bite out of this year's apple crop. Mother nature has taken a bite out of this year's apple crop.

Mother nature has taken a bite out of this year's apple crop.

Ditzler's Orchard in Rosedale,Indian says they've produced only a fourth of the amount of apples than in year's past.

Judi Ditzler, of Ditzler's Orchard said, "I tell most people were making it up as we go along because we don't know."

But it's not the drought that's at the core of the problem.

Warmer spring caused trees to bloom early and when temperatures dropped below freezing for a few days in April, most of the fruit didn't make it.

"It was a pooling of air, so everything that was eight feet or below froze and everything up in the top got nipped but not completely taken out. It killed everything in the lower branches and left a few on the tops and that's what we're picking is the tops," Ditzler said.

And with such a small yield, many orchards are having to rely on each other for help.

"This is probably only the second time in history that we have had to buy apples outside of our orchard. Usually we have more apples than we can sell. But this year we are running a little short and we did buy a few," Ditzler said.

And this summer's drought could still take a toll on other fruits.

Experts say that even next year's crop of strawberries and blueberries could be affected.

"It was coming on at a time when the strawberries were setting their runners in setting their blossoms for next year in the blueberries were setting their blossoms next year. We're not just concerned about this year we were also looking at next year when the drought hit," Ditzler said.

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