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California fruit farmers try to deal with fewer chill hours

As winters get warmer across the US, chill hours that are essential for fruit farming also decrease. This has a variety of effects on fruit and nut production, including changes in how flowers are pollinated and how many blooms are produced. National Public Radio had an interesting story about these effects earlier this week. In it they describe how male trees which produce pollen are no longer blooming at the same time as the female trees, reducing the potential yields due to lack of fertilization. Some farmers are using methods like spraying horticultural oil to trick the trees into thinking it has been colder than the thermometer says. You can listen to the story or read about this and other impacts from the warmer weather on the crops here.

Source: Karen Blaha, Commons Wikimedia