Camarosa Field Shots on January 2nd in Easley, SC (10:55am, 1/2/16)

— Written By Barclay Poling

CAM Easley Jan 2cam field shot jan 2 DSC_0006

Good morning, and Happy New Year!

My appreciation to Eric Hunter for sending these shots of Camarosa from his field in Easley, SC, this morning. Eric has been closely monitoring weather forecasts in his area, and he sent this info to me last night at 9:30 p.m. (1/1/16):

Hey Dr. Poling,
Hope your new year has gotten off to a good start.
Quick question regarding temps and row covers for the upcoming cold spell.
Looks like the next few nights will be the following:
Tonight 28
Saturday Night 26
Sunday Night 26
Monday Night 20
Tuesday Night 20
Wednesday Night 31

Usually I would be concerned with row covers but under the circumstances of unusual warm temps and no hardening off, do you think covers would be warranted for Monday and Tuesday night? These plants definitely need some cold air, I’m just not sure if 20 will be too cold at this point?
Thanks,
Eric

My reply –

Eric, in my 30 some years of working this beat, I have never seen a strawberry platiculture crop this far advanced at the very beginning of January (normally you see very “flattened” looking plants with a “dull” look). BUT, the photo at the very top of this advisory is more like  what I am accustomed to seeing Camarosa looks like in March —  not January on 2nd. Note that the plant has some very succulent new leaves at center of crown. Some years ago at the Upper Mountain Research Station in Laurel Springs, NC, we experienced a hard October freeze on plants that were not acclimated, and the new leaves you see in the middle of the plant (top photo), were damaged in very low 20s. The plants survived ok, but there was pretty visible damage to the newest leaves arising from the crown.

Like you, I am very glad to finally see some good hardening temperatures this weekend. We desperately need to get these plants hardened off! Even several days of near freezing and sub-freezing temperatures right in a row, can be most beneficial. In my Clayton SkyBit, I can see that at this location in NC, strawberry plants will be getting some excellent cold temperatures for the acclimation process in the next several days. I have not been down to Clayton today, but I suspect the Camarosa plants there are probably as far along as your crop in Easley. I am not concerned about losing the exposed flowers and emerged flower buds to this upcoming freeze (Tue/Wed), but we could be right on the borderline as far as sustaining some cold injury to newly emerged leaves with a temperature going to 20 F (18 F at canopy). If the temperature was dropping into mid-teens, I would have concerns about injury to the flower primordia (inside the crowns), and I would be inclined to play it safe and cover up sometime on Monday (weather permitting).

Hope this helps?

Barclay

p.s. I wish that I could share some more detailed weather maps and information that I normally include in these advisories, but ALL of my subscriptions have expired!  An infusion of several thousand dollars is needed pretty quickly for me to show AWIS maps (and their excellent 10 day forecasts for multiple locations in SC, VA, NC, and GA), as well as to afford the custom weekend reports, such as the one I shared this past Monday.

p.s.s. Here is my personal SkyBit for Clayton and for one site in VA (where it will get to 13F early next week at this location in Moseley — this grower has already covered up)

20160102st1.NCCLY 20160102st1.VACHL

MORE FEEDBACK ON NEED FOR ADVISORY TO CONTINUE

North Carolina

>> ” I sure would like to see the advisories continue.”

Mike

Mike Wilder, Regional Agronomist, Agronomic Division, NCDA&CS 159 NC Hwy 98 East Bunn, NC  27508919-495-7495

>>Dr. Poling, Homewood Farm is interested in the advisory and sky bit if it is included. (Alamance Co)

>> Yes we would like to continue the weather report, Faylene Whitaker

>> Hi Barclay,
I would like to express my desire to see this forecast continue. There is a deal of concern around the state about this year’s strawberry crop. I share this information with our regional agronomists and other NCDA&CS staff and we find it very helpful. Thanks! Kristin Hicks

Virginia
Strawberry Doc –My vote is YES, please do continue the advisory service……in VA Beach I am close enough to you to derive substantial benefit from the information.Thom
C: 646 483 3202