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Since You Asked: Pear orchards withstood hail onslaught

It was hailing as we pulled off Interstate 5 at the south Medford interchange at about 3 p.m. Monday. There was a really black cloud to the southeast over that big orchard area east of Phoenix-Talent. Any orchard damage?

— Bob L., Medford

As dark, ugly and cold as the sky was, spitting out bits of hail along the Bear Creek drainage, we haven’t received crop damage reports from local growers.

Last year, there was little hail damage to the Rogue Valley crop, but whenever ice falls from the sky, it can be a bit disconcerting for growers.

Doug Lowry of Associated Fruit, which operates orchards in that part of the valley, said the hail didn’t do much to his orchards.

“We’re a little more worried about it freezing than the hail,” Lowry said. “It’s not that big of a factor. As long as it doesn’t strip the blossoms off the tree, we’re good.”

Likewise, Ron Meyer, a Talent orchardist, didn’t detect damage to his crop.

“We had what I call snow pellets,” Meyer said. “That and rain, more than hail. I look at the leaves. If they’re shredded, then we need to worry.”

But there was no shredding.

“So far, so good,” Meyer said. “It’s still a long ways until harvest time.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.