Baar, 18.04.2019

Rows of lit candles between cherry trees help to prevent damaging frost

As many readers will not have failed to notice, some cherry trees at present in blossom are a real spectacle. But have not the recent nights of frost had an adverse effect on them? Might the cherry harvest be affected?

Fortunately, thanks to preventive measures such as the burning of candles between the rows of cultivated trees, it is hoped this summer’s cherry harvest will not have been too adversely affected.

 

The positioning of so many lit candles in rows between the trees is a sight in itself. One local producer taking this preventive action is Philipp Hotz of the Hotzenhof farm in Baar, who placed almost 200 candles out in this way to protect his 800 cherry trees from the early morning cold, the fourth April he has done so. In fact, this spring he has spent as much as CHF 5,000 on 350 candles, enough to keep the cold causing damage for up to ten hours.

As Hotz himself confirmed, the effort has been well worth it, with only a few cherry trees adversely affected, namely those in an adjacent area where 20 of them grow naturally, and where the effort of trying to protect them, with rain protection, too, was not worth the trouble. All blossom has been lost there, meaning no cherries and a financial loss of CHF 3,000.

Despite these losses, Hotz is optimistic about this summer’s cherry harvest, especially now the temperatures are rising. “From 12°C it is warm enough for bees to go around pollinating,” he said.

Only a short distance away further south, fruit-grower Sepp Burri has managed without putting any candles out this year, possibly because his trees benefit from being on a slope. And as Markus Hunkeler, who is responsible for special crops in the canton, confirmed, it is unlikely there will be any more problems with frost this year, though this cannot be guaranteed until after the three Ice Saints’ Days (11,12 and 13 May) as they are known; this, in contrast to the problems frost caused in 2017.

 

This article is based one by Laura Sibold.