Balmy spring days are causing sleepless nights for Central Otago orchardists.
Fruit growers in the Teviot Valley, at Alexandra and at Cromwell were a bit jaded yesterday after spending their second successive night frost-fighting.
Manager of 45 South orchard at Cromwell Tim Jones said the overnight temperature dropped to -3degC so it was ''a pretty good frost.''
''Some other places around here recorded -6 though. That's quite a hard frost for this time of year,'' he said.
The crop on any flowering fruit trees was at risk from the frost, as was the tender young fruit forming after blossoming finished.
''The apricots are particularly vulnerable right now and I think the apricot people [growers] have been having a busy time of it, with one I heard of up for 20 nights in a row frost-fighting,'' Mr Jones said.
Wayne McIntosh, of McIntosh Orchard at Earnscleugh, said the temperature dropped to -2.4 on Sunday night, placing all the fruit grown on the property at risk.
''With the heat during the days, the blossom's coming out fast,'' he said.
Summerfruit New Zealand chairman Gary Bennetts said although the mercury plummeted at his Roxburgh orchard on Sunday night ''it didn't quite hit the danger zone''.
Central Otago orchardists could expect to be frost-fighting any time from the end of August to November, he said.
Cherries were coming into flower, nectarines were blooming and apricots had young fruit on them and were at their most susceptible to frost.