Dear Growers, Agents, Argonomists & Others,
It finally looks like a real warming trend starts in about a week with the above normal temperatures after April 9. According to Dr. Van Knowe (who did this upate this early Monday morning), “It is too far out to get too exact, but heat stress could be a concern as we get past the first week of April.”
I just spoke with a reporter in the Greenville, NC, area and I discussed with him how strawberry growers would probably prefer to have issues with crop delays (related to cold March) and frost, than to tangle with a heatwave during bloom! So, please review Dr. Van Knowes forecast below (no heat issues until possibly 8 Apr), and I will be monitoring conditions closely in the 2nd week of April for any possible blossom “heat stress” issues. We are still researching the effects of sudden warm-ups period during strawberry bloom, and our impression is that heatwaves that come in the first half of April before the canopy has filled in (when you can see a lot of black plastic still), are more threatening that once we have nearly full canopy coverage of the black plastic in late April and May.
Forecast discussion day 3 – 5: (2 Apr – 4 Apr) Below average temperatures. Highs in upper 40s to near 60s and lows near 20 to mid 30s. A high pressure dropping out of Canada will bring several days of a cold northwest flow and below normal temperatures. Little if any precipitation expected during this period.
Forecast discussion day 6 – 8: (5 Apr – 7 Apr) Near average temperatures. Highs in mid-50s to low 60s and lows in the low 30s to near 40. A low pressure system will likely develop in South Carolina and move up the coast bringing a 12 – 18 hour period of rain an milder temperatures during the first half of the period. As the low pressure departs slightly colder filters into the regions in a north-northwest wind flow. So the period starts out cool and wet but is dry and near normal temperatures by the end of the period. Precipitation amounts are expected to be in 0.50 – 1.5 range during this period.
Forecast discussion day 9 – 11: (8 Apr – 10 Apr) Above average temperatures. Highs in mid 60s – low 70s and lows in the mid 40s to low 50s. A southwest flow will develop behind a warm front that will pass through the region early in the period. Precipitation amounts are expected to be in 0.20 – 0.40 range during this period.
Forecast discussion day 12 – 14: (11 Apr – 13 Apr) Slightly above average temperatures. Highs in mid-60s to low 70s and lows in the low 40s to near 50. A weakening cold front will move through the region mid period bringing a period of showers and thunderstorms. Precipitation amounts are expected to be in 0.25 – 0.55 range during this period.
Outlook discussion day 15 – 22: (14 Apr – 21 Apr): Slightly above average temperatures. It is expected that near average temperatures with several periods of showers during this period.
Outlook discussion day 23 – 30: (22 Apr – 29 Apr): Above average temperatures. It is expected that near average temperatures continue during this period.
Please go to this link to see the charts that Dr. Van Knowe reviewed in the development of this forecast (2 Apr-13 Apr) and Outlook (14 Apr – 29 Apr):
I will be back in a few minutes with some specific thoughts about a possible frost this Thursday morning!
Dr. E. Barclay Poling
Professor Emeritus/Extension Strawberry Specialist
Department of Horticultural Science
Campus Box 7609, 162A Kilgore Hall
NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609