Over 60% of kiwi orchards were damaged in various areas in Lazio. The territory affected by the frost of 20th-22nd April 2017 goes from south-west Rome to the entire Latina area.
“Temperatures have not dropped may degrees below zero, but a lot depended on the land. For example, plants located in dips of even just one metre were hit far worse than the others.
Male plants, which are generally taller, stand out with their green against a background of burnt female plants,” explains Crea researcher Gianni Tacconi.
In some cases, orchards covered by anti-hail nets show less damage, just like those under anti-insect nets or anti-rain plastic films. But the situation differs from area to area.
“It’s too early to make an assessment, as many buds with burnt leaves are still green. They will drop though and, if analysed closely, it’s possible to see how the petals inside have a translucent green colour, typical of frost damage.”
“Flowers may not open or be deformed, or they may blossom late causing pollination problems.”
But there’s another problem: what are producers to do? How much should they invest on an orchard that has been damaged and will not enable the covering of maintenance costs? A compromise must be reached so as not to abandon the orchard or lose money