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Wind Damage in Southern California Orchards, USA

Vipin Saini
Vipin Saini
Damaged Tree

Windstorms are not common across the USA, yet here is a piece of news that may attract the attention of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in our own country. Well of course the coastal regions in specific as far as India goes. Worth giving a thought, isn’t it? 

Recent windstorms that swept through Southern California have left the growers to assess the wind damage they experienced. The region experienced strong winds last week with gusts of nearly 100 mile-per-hour winds in higher elevations. Producers saw significant fruit drop in their orchards, along with broken limbs and downed trees.  

Chris Sayer, a Ventura County farmer from Petty Ranch said “the winds did some serious damage in their orchards. They have sustained 50 mile-an-hour winds for much of Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. They’ve observed a few trees knocked over; branches broken. They anticipate around 20 percent of our avocado crop ended up on the ground. While we didn’t lose many lemons directly, I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of scarring and downgrading of the fruit when it actually does get to harvest. This was an event that we’ll feel at the bottom line this year.” 

Shallow root systems in avocados make the trees more vulnerable to windstorms. The severe winds bent trees that were planted back in 2019 so far that it broke the stakes. Some trees were also broken off at ground level and sent downwind.   The wind damage was most apparent in Hass avocados wherein 60 percent of that crop has been affected. However, the more compact Lamb Hass fruit, which is downwind and a little bit sheltered, didn’t look to be much damaged.  

High winds of last week were followed by significant storm systems bringing rain and snow to much of California. Having to get some of the Meyer lemons picked prior to the winds having too much of an impact. However, some risk is anticipated for the rest of their lemon crop which will stay on the trees for a few more weeks.  

Though some States’ have classified some natural disasters for crop insurance such as Himachal Pradesh. Would be nice to study the coastal regions plantations to address some of the concerns of the Indian farmers in such an event. Natural disasters need to be covered under the Crop Insurance Scheme.  

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