Feedback from growers on applying row covers (Jan. 1, 2014)

— Written By


I just wanted to let you know what growers around the region are doing today to get ready for colder temperatures heading our way!

1. John Vollmer, Bunn, NC (possibly 14 F on Sat morning)

Barclay — Thanks for the “heads up ” — We will put on covers to cover our &&## and berries ! Happy New Year

2. Nancy Edwards, Wartrace, TN (possibly 6 F on Jan 6/7)

Thanks so much Barclay. We’re getting  covers on this morning. If it is not too late please sign me up for the weather forecasting (SkyBit). I can’t see the details out that far on Intellicast, but we can usually react pretty quickly IF the weather doesn’t stop us.

3. Tom Baker, Virginia Beach (concern is with desiccation)

Happy New Year Barclay & Lindy,

We are covering up this afternoon in front of rain most of the day tomorrow (Thursday) thru Friday late morning.  Our Saturday morning forecast for Chesapeake is 19 (AccuWeather) with very light wind (which will likely mean no wind) so canopy will be colder no doubt.  We’ll cover Pungo, too.  Pungo’s forecast is to be a little warmer at 22 but actual Pungo temps are often closer to Chesapeake’s.

At this time it looks like we will probably leave covers on until Jan. 9 as the lows for nights of Jan. 6, 7, 8 are forecast as 22, 19, 23 (Chesapeake).  The fly in the ointment is Sunday Jan. 5 with high in low 60s but right now Jan. 5 looks to be mostly cloudy so hopefully won’t do any too-warm harm.

We’re probably not in much danger from the near-term absolute low temps so much as desiccation if winds should come up at these ~ 20 F temps (?)  But for us, covering now will hopefully help reduce needed hand sanitation as winter ends in late February and protect if temps fall lower than current forecast.


Tom & Anne Baker and Amanda McCann
Brookdale Farm
2060 Vaughan Rd, Virginia Beach, VA  23457

Editor’s note:

Row covers are strongly recommended for areas that will be seeing single digits. And, for areas in the low teens they could be of significant benefit.  For areas in the upper teens, it is harder to say how critical the covers may be for absolute temperature protection at this time of year, but with several days of record warmth just before Christmas, it is a little harder to gauge plant hardiness at this juncture. I have seen some winters when Chandler and Camarosa have taken temperatures in the single digits without injury at about this time of year, but these were also years of excellent prior acclimation of plants to colder temperatures.  Because our temperaturess have been bouncing around a lot, I think covers may be some good insurance even for areas like Chesepeake, VA, which may only reach 19 F. And, as Tom Baker mentions (above),  if winds should come up during this cold spell, desiccation injury to plants will be minimized. Please also be aware that very low dewpoints in some areas will be another factor to consider in regard to plant moisture loss.

Happy New Year!

Written By

Photo of Dr. Barclay PolingDr. Barclay PolingFormer Professor and Extension Specialist, Strawberries and Muscadines (919) 515-5373 (Office) barclay_poling@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
Posted on Jan 1, 2014
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