Georgia peach producers are eyeing the weather, as temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s later this week. It could impact this year’s crop.
Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties, said Georgia’s peach crop is post bloom on most everything with fruit forming on most of the varieties. They are susceptible to cold damage if temperatures drop considerably.
“When you get post bloom and the shucks gone, your flower’s gone and you’ve got exposed fruit, if frost forms on that fruit, then you’ll get damage,” Cook said. “It’s not always on every fruit, not every fruit’s exposed. I’ve never seen frost destroy a crop. We are more worried about getting down below 30 (degrees) for a few hours. That would be more of a killing type cold. Right now, I think forecasts are 32 to 34 depending on which one you look at. And then it’s going to vary, depending on the orchards.
“I tell everybody, most of the planning goes in way before the cold comes. You put the orchard in a place where that cold air’s going to (go) away and you’ve got warm air left behind. That’s what we always hope.”
Cook also said there has been research done with copper applications and their impact in keeping frost from forming.
“There’s bacteria that will help take cold water and form ice. If you can spray copper, it’s been proven that it can help reduce ice formation,” Cook said.
Temperatures are expected to drop to 33 degrees Thursday night and Friday night, according to weather.com.
With the cold winter temperatures, peach trees across the Southeast received sufficient chilling hours. But now producers are hoping to avoid cold temperatures that could impact this year’s harvest.