Legend in Terlan has it that some years ago, in the after war period, a young farmer forgot to turn off his sprinkler system overnight. In the morning all of his apple trees were covered in ice, much to the amusement of his fellow farmers. But the laughter soon ceased, as they themselves discovered that all the blooming flower buds on their trees were destroyed by the freezing temperatures, while only those of the young farmer remained, safely trapped under a thin layer of ice that was now starting to melt in the morning sun.
Such stories are quite common in the area, as the importance of frost protection irrigation became more and more apparent with the increasing amount of apple cultivation. Blooming apple flower buds are very delicate and sensitive to the cold. And without flower buds in spring, there won‘t be any apples later in the year. Which is why at first sign of frost during the night, apple farmers turn on their sprinkler systems.
The ice on the trees might be spectacular to look at, but it isn‘t the ice itself that‘s actually keeping the flower buds safe from the freezing temperatures. Tiny water droplets in the air from the sprinklers fall onto the blooming flowers and begin to crystallize, releasing heat and thus protecting the flower buds.
The farmer's trees from the story were ready for harvest in autumn, hopefully, so will be our neighbor's!