Weather experts have issued a warning that this confounded cold spell could harm cherry buds.
Weather forecasts calling for temperatures right around zero for tonight and Sunday threaten to damage dormant cherry buds, according to a notice from AgWeatherNet, a Prosser-based weather system operated by Washington State University.
Officials performed tests earlier in the week for cold hardiness — a measure of temperatures that plants can tolerate — in both Prosser and Benton City.
“While orchard management practices affect the cold hardiness of cherries, there is currently a high degree of confidence that temperatures will pass the threshold where damage to buds is likely to occur,” the news release said.
All fruit trees and grape vines build up tolerance to cold as the season progresses, but abrupt dips in temperature still can harm either the buds or the cells that transfer water during the irrigation season.