Wind Damages California Lemons

Len Wilcox California Corner, Weather

Wind damage to a lemon tree at Petty Ranch
(Photo courtesy of Chris Sayer)

Wind damage sustained last week in California is still being assessed by county agriculture commissioners in San Diego and Ventura counties. However, damage appears to be limited to lemons and avocados.

The wind damage was the result of a series of storms that swept through Southern California last week. The region experienced strong winds with gusts of nearly 100 mile-per-hour winds in higher elevations.

While producers saw significant fruit drop in their avocado orchards, citrus seems to have received damage only to lemons.

Ventura County farmer Chris Sayer from Petty Ranch said the damage to citrus was limited to a some downed trees, a few broken limbs and surface scars on fruit.

“We had sustained 50 mile-an-hour winds for much of Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. So, we’ve got a few trees knocked over, a few limbs broken. Probably about 20 percent of our avocado crop ended up on the ground,” Sayer noted. “While we didn’t lose many lemons directly, I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of scarring and downgrading of the fruit when it actually does get to harvest. This was an event that we’ll feel at the bottom line this year.”

High winds of last week were followed by significant storm systems bringing rain and snow to much of California. Sayer said he was fortunate to get some Meyer lemons picked prior to the winds having too much of an impact.

Some risk remains for the rest of the lemon crop, which will stay on the trees for a few more weeks. “We’ll see a little bit of scarring and loss there. Most of our crop is still on the trees and still vulnerable to weather events,” said Sayer.

About the Author

Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West

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