Multi-State Strawberry Freeze Advisory (9am, Feb. 9, 2016)

— Written By Barclay Poling

Dear Growers, Agents, Agronomists and Others

The freeze coming into our region this weekend could be very damaging to emerged flower buds. This advisory provides detailed minimum temperature information for strawberry growers in NC, VA, SC, GA and MD.

A Good Reference for making a decision about the need for row cover protection:


Fig. 1. In a dormant period, a well-hardened Chandler, or Camarosa, can handle temperatures as low as 10 F without row cover protection, and not show any injury to crown tissues. Single digits can be worrisome – in the dormant condition. However, in mid-February, strawberry plants are emerging from dormancy as days get longer and warmer. Take a close look at the photo, and note the two emerged flower buds above the pencil tip. These will likely be killed at around 18 F. Many parts of the region will be seeing temperatures at, or below 18 F this weekend. In the transition period from dormancy to new leaf growth stage, there is still considerable hardiness in flower buds, and it is definitely possible for an emerged flower bud to tolerate temperatures into mid-teens, especially if it is a recently emerged, smaller flower bud. The more advanced, “fat” flower buds are more prone to damage.

Yesterday, I included this photo from a grower in Easley, SC, that was taken LAST WEEK

imageFig. 2. In this photo of Camarosa plant in Easley (Asheville-like climate), you can already see two excellent new flower buds that have emerged (photo on 2/3/16). The grower is not taking any chances, and will be re-covering before the weekend. He does not feel he can afford to lose these flower buds, and I completely support his decision to recover. His area is much like Asheville, NC, and Asheville may see a low of 11 F at weather shelter height on Valentines (they are also going to 17 F tomorrow morning, and 14 F on Wed).


So, now is the time to apply those row covers in areas where there is potential for low teens, and some growers may even wish to double-up in really cold areas and/or where they have already been using row covers this winter, and plants are more advanced.

One of the chief concerns with overwinter row covers in the Mid-South relates to how the covers “push the crop’s development in winter” and make the plants more susceptible to damage from a late winter arctic clipper like the one on tap for this Valentine’s.

Data and experience driven row cover decisions:  I am not sure how much experience you have had with strawberries in the mid-South, but I have been working with this crop since 1980. In my view, growers need to be getting row covers on today to prevent the possibility of this Valentine clipper from clipping a good portion of their 2016 crop. We have already seen many blossoms lost this winter season. A row cover is the only reliable way to manage a late winter freeze of this kind. With a row cover applied at this time, a grower can protect nearly all emerged flower buds as well as make sure that no injury occurs to the non-emerged flower buds. Growers with more advanced crops, may benefit from a double cover. The second cover could go on just before the weekend. Get the first one on now.

Multi-state Freeze Advisory – AWIS Minimum Temperature Tables by State and Region

Maryland Minimum Temps Feb 9-16: MD Minimum Temps Feb 9-16

Virginia Minimum Temps Feb 9-16: VA Min Temp Table Feb 9-16

North Carolina Minimum Temps Feb 9-16: NC Minimum Temp Map Feb 9-16

South Carolina Minimum Temps Feb 9-16: SC Min Temp Table Feb 9-16

Georgia Minimum Temps Feb 9-16: GA Min Temp Table Feb 9-16


State by State Detailed 10 DAY FORECAST

Detailed AWIS forecast for multiple locations in Maryland


Aberdeen Andrews_AFB Annapolis_Naval Baltimore_Sci_Ce
Baltimore/Wash Cambridge/Dorche College_Park_AP Cumberland_AP
Easton_MD Fort_Meade Frederick_MD Gaithersburg_AP
Hagerstown_AP Leonardtown Middle_River Oakland_MD_AP
Ocean_City_AP Patuxent_River Salisbury Stevensville_AP
St_Inigoes/Webst Washington_DC_AP Westminster_AP


Detailed AWIS forecast for multiple locations in Virginia


Abingdon Ashland_VA Charlottesville Chesapeake-Ches
Culpeper Danville Dublin/New_Riv Emporia_VA
Farmville Fentress_Naval_A Fort_Belvoir/Da Fort_Eustis/Fel
Franklin/J_B_Ro Hillsville Hot_Springs/Ing Jonesville_AP
Langley_AFB Leesburg/Godfre Louisa-Louisa_C Lynchburg
Manassas_Muni(A Marion/Wythev Martinsville Mecklenburg/Bru
Melfa/Accomack Newport_News Norfolk_Hampton_ Norfolk_NAS
Norfolk_VA Oceana Orange_VA Petersburg_(AWO
Quantico Richlands_AP Richlands_VA Richmond
Richmond_Chester Roanoke Shannon_Arpt Stafford_AP_VA
Staunton-Shenan Suffolk-Suffolk Tappahannock_AP Virginia_Tech_A
Wakefield_AP Wallops_Island Warrenton_Fauqui Washington_Dulle
West_Point_VA Williamsburg_VA Winchester_Rgnl Wise/Lonesome_P

North Carolina

Detailed AWIS forecast for multiple locations in North Carolina


Ahoskie-Tri-Cou Albemarle_AP Andrews Asheboro
Asheville_Munic Beaufort-Michae Boone_NC Burlington-Burl
Cape_Hatteras_AG Chapel_Hill-Hor Charlotte Cherry_Point
Clinton_NC Concord_NC Currituck_NC Edenton-Northea
Elizabeth_City Elizabethtown_NC Erwin-Harnett_C Fayetteville_AP
Fort_Bragg/Simm Franklin/Macon_C Gastonia-Gaston Goldsboro_AFB
Goldsboro_NC Greensboro Greenville_AP_NC Hickory
Jacksonville Jacksonville_(A Jefferson_AP_NC Kenansville-Dup
Kill_Devil_Hills Kinston_AP Lexington-David Lincolnton_AP
Louisburg_NC Lumberton_AP_NC Mackall_AAF Manteo/Dare_Co
Maxton Mcalf_Bogue_Fiel Monroe_AP_NC Morganton-Morga
Mount_Airy-Moun New_Bern North_Wilkesbor Oxford_NC
Piney_Island_Bom Pope_AFB Raleigh-Durham Reidsville_AP
Roanoke_Rap_AP Roanoke_Rapids_R Rockingham_NC Rocky_Mount-Wils
Roxboro_AP Rutherfordton Salisbury-Rowan Sanford_NC
Shelby_AP_NC Smithfield_AP Southern_Pines Southport_NC
Statesville-Sta Tarboro_AP Wadesboro_AP Washington-Warr
Whiteville_NC Wilmington_AP_NC Winston-Salem

South Carolina


Aiken_AP Anderson_Co_Air Barnwell_AP Beaufort_Cnty_AP
Beaufort_SC Bennettsville_Je Camden_AP Charleston_Exec_
Charleston_Muni Cheraw_AP Chester_AP Clemson-Clemson
Columbia-Columb Columbia/McEnti Columbia_Metro Conway_AP
Darlington Florence_SC Georgetown_AP_SC Greenville_Donal
Greenville_Down Greenville-Spart Greenwood-Green Hartsville_AP
Hilton_Head_AP Kingstree_AP Lancaster-McWhir Laurens_AP
Manning_AP Marion_AP_SC Moncks_Corner_AP Mount_Pleasant_A
Myrtle_Beach Newberry_AP North_Myrtle_Be Orangeburg-Oran
Pickens_AP Rock_Hill Spartanburg_Down Summerville_AP
Sumter_AP Sumter_SC Walterboro_AP Winnsboro_AP


Minimum Temp Table: GA Min Temp Table

Detailed AWIS forecast for multiple locations in Georgia


Albany_Municipa Alma/Bacon_Co Americus_AP Athens_Municipa
Atlanta/DeKalb Atlanta/Fulton Atlanta_Intl_Ar Atlanta_Paulding
Augusta/Bush_Fi Augusta_Daniel_F Bainbridge_GA Blakely_AP
Brunswick_GA Brunswick/Glync Canton_GA Carrollton_AP
Cartersville_AP Claxton_AP Columbus_GA Covington_GA_AP
Dalton-Dalton_M Douglas_Muni Dublin/WHBarron Fitzgerald_AP
Fort_Benning Ft_Stewart/Wrig Gainesville_AP_G Greensboro_GA
Homerville_AP Hunter_(AAF) Jesup_AP La_Grange
Lakeland Lawrenceville_AP Macon_AP Marietta
Marietta/Cobb Milledgeville_AP Moultrie_Muni_AP Newnan-Newnan_C
Peachtree_City Rome_GA Savannah Statesboro_GA
Swainsboro_AP Sylvania_AP_GA Thomaston_AP Thomasville_AP
Thomson_GA Tifton_AP Valdosta Valdosta/Moody
Vidalia Warner_Robins_A Washington_GA Washington_GA
Waycross_AP Winder_AP

Good luck!

Barclay Poling