Minnesota apple orchards hold up despite drought


Guy Brown went to the source and gathered information on this year’s apple harvest.

WATERTOWN, Minn. – Lack of rain this summer is putting a punch on Minnesota’s vegetation and stressing lawns, flowers and trees in state orchards.

At Luce Line Orchard in Watertown, Minnesota, owners Terry and Rick Traen are seeing firsthand the effects of the drought.

“Some apple trees are dropping apples, some of them look really good and are loaded with apples, and some of them don’t,” said Terry.

While some of their apples are smaller this year, the Traens are already considering winter and what the dry weather will do to their trees in the long run.

“It’s a bit strange because the grass and the trees look green but underneath there is no humidity,” said Terry. “It’s really dry, the ground.”

And underground, around the roots of trees, this is where moisture is needed most.

Terry said the Traens have not experienced this kind of water scarcity since the family bought the orchard in 2004. She says the last drought they can remember was in 1988 and she didn’t. felt it had lasted as long as this year’s drought.

But times have changed since then, and Mike Dekarski of Apple Jack Orchards in Delano says the apple industry has grown alongside its trees.

“We got used to this drought in 1988, we didn’t have irrigation at the time and we lost about a third of our trees,” he said. “So we put in an irrigation, our whole orchard is drip irrigated, so our harvest is going well.”

Drought or no drought, the two orchards say people are invited to pick apples and have a good time, keeping a classic Minnesota fall tradition alive.


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