BRUSSELS (Brussels Morning) – The sunny days of last week are gradually giving way to showers and precipitation. The RMI also predicts freezing cold and snow in the coming nights. This may have consequences for some trees that are now in bloom. At the Botanic Garden Meise, people are not too concerned, but fruit growers are anxiously waiting, now that pear trees and crickets are in bloom.
“We are still very early in the spring and we hope that there will not be too much damage due to the coming frost,” says Koen Es of Botanic Garden Meise.
Will they take extra measures against the freezing cold? “We don’t do much about that per se. For example, there is a very good chance that the magnolias will freeze overnight. The plum blossoms will probably also be brown tomorrow, but unfortunately there is little we can do about that. We let nature take its course.”
As for the plants in the greenhouses, “Of course we have to make sure that the combustion plants function optimally, but we do that every night, so that’s no different,” says Es.
Fruit growers are waiting
So the frost doesn’t change anything for the botanical garden in Meise, but things are different for fruit growers. If the blossoms of fruit trees were to freeze, they would lose their harvest. Camille Depuydt is the manager of Pajottenlander, which produces fruit juices and fruit preparations, among other things. She works closely with local fruit growers in Pajottenland.
“Our suppliers mainly grow apples and pears,” she says. “The pear is already in bloom. It remains to be seen what the hail, snow and cold will do. But the growers are not taking any extra measures. For the time being, not too extreme weather conditions are expected. We will see if we will have a bad harvest this year as well.”
Another fruit tree in bloom is the cherry tree, including the Schaerbeek cherry tree. Every year, Pajottenlander supplies Schaerbeek cherries to the Brussels lambic brewery Cantillon, which uses it in their cherry beer.
“We do not take any special measures for the cultivation of those cherries, because they are too expensive. You could spray hot water, set up fire pits, or hang nets to protect the trees from hail. However, that is very labour-intensive and therefore does not outweigh the yield of the Schaerbeek cricket, which also grows too high for such interventions,” says Depuydt.
So it remains to be seen if the weather gods will be sympathetic to the fruit growers. Gert Christiaens of the Oud Beersel brewery certainly hopes so. “Some crickets are already in bloom and can therefore freeze to pieces.”
At Oud Beersel they have 240 crickets on the domain of the brewery in Beersel. “Our trees are not yet old enough to use the cherries in our beers, so the frost on our domain should not be a problem yet. But that is of course different for our supplier of cherries. The cherries we take must be in order.”
Image via Bruzz