Quite Cold Next Thur Morning (2/11/16)…posted Sat Morning (2/6/16)

— Written By Barclay Poling
en Español

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imageFig. 1. Minimum temperature map for NC next Thursday morning – please note there are sections of western piedmont that could be in upper teens.

In the Clayton area of NC (southeast of Raleigh), the minimum temp in canopy could be 20 F this next Thursday, 2/11, according to SkyBit (Table 1)

20160206st1.NCCLYFig. 2. Canopy forecast at Clayton is for 20 F next Thur. Hopefully, growers will be able to complete field sanitation operations soon! Note that the temperatures in the week ahead are definitely on the cooler side, and this is just what the doctor ordered –> a dormant strawberry plant for completing field sanitation operations before warmer temperatures arrive (see very bottom of this advisory for CAUTION about when not to do field sanitation). Note in the table below (Table 1), that maximum air temps for today through 15-Feb are mostly low 50s and some 40s, with very chilly mornings Wed-Fri.

forecastTable 1. This is another useful product that comes with SkyBit’s E-Weather Strawberry Canopy Forecast (Fig. 1) –>  they call the E-Weather Forecast & Summary Combo (are you subscribed to SkyBit this season?). The Combo product allows you to also look at the week just past. Note how much rain we had late in the week last week! And, temperatures actually got above 70 F on two days this last week (I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to hold these plants back!!).

Do you need a row cover to go back on this week – it depends on crop stage and your forecast!

If you are in the deeper south (like Southern GA), I think the answer to the question of needing a row cover to go back on is going to depend on how many new “good” new open blooms you are seeing (today), and what the minimum temperature in the canopy this next week? What you need to do depends entirely on crop stage, and your minimum temp forecast.

South Georgia – If you need to protect open blossoms, you must be extremely cautious if  temperatures are forecasted to be below the freezing point (32 F), you must be extremely cautious!

7daytemp.ga.8Fig. 2. Minimum temp map for GA next Wed morning

Greensboro, NC – if you are in north central piedmont of NC, and you are still in tight bud stage, and plants are dormant (no new leaves in center of plant), you have a lot more flexibility! Unless temperatures are heading into low teens – no worries! Check out the AWIS detailed 10-day forecast below for your location in NC.


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

A Good Reference for making a decision about re-applying a row cover:


Fig. 3. With knowledge of your crop stage and minimum temp forecast, you can make a more informed decision about whether you need for row covers to go back on this week. At Clayton, it will only get to 20 F, and with plants relatively dormant, there is minimal risk of cold damage to “tight” flower buds that have emerged. Often, this particular crop stage can “handle” temperatures as low as 18 F.

Decisions about next week for several locations

Clayton, NC

At Clayton, with a low of 20 F expected (Thur), I would not worry about re-applying row covers with plants that are pretty dormant and not pushing any new leaves from the crown.

Easley, SC

Eric Hunter shared these three photos of his Camarosa crop this week (Fig. 4-6). You may recall that Eric s planning to re-cover because he is expecting temperatures in the mid-teens in his location in Easley, SC, next week). I fully support that decision!

eric 2.4.16 plantFig. 4. Photo of  un-cleaned Camarosa plants. The grower said he is  seeing  on average, 18+ dead buds/blooms/formed fruit per plant. He  counted upwards of 30 on some in the middle of last week (Wed, 2/4). Cleaning the crop up is NOT EASY WORK, but it is highly critical to consider doing this this year, as we have never seen so many dead flower parts as this season – they need to come off! In Eric’s case, every Camarosa plug plant has at least 10 dead flowers. If you can’t arrange to get this done, you will likely experience very high botrytis pressure this season! And, the weather experts ARE TELLING US about higher than normal precipitation amounts.

eric plant closerDSC_0012Fig. 5 & 6. Growers appreciate it when another grower sends good shots such as these! In these two photos, Eric Hunter is showing us an excellent photo of the “dead flowers” that need to come off (Fig 5) and his pointer in Fig. 6 is placed on a large, emerged flower bud that is “still alive.”  He is re-applying his covers in anticipation of mid-teens in his location in Upstate SC. Here is what he had to say about those two buds you see –  “The buds that were in the top of the crown a few days ago are now an inch or so out of the crown on some plants. Some have 5 or more emerged buds.”  He is concerned about what is happening to his crop NOW, and he will NOT be leaving covers on any longer than he must.

An Early Spring?

The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said the furry rodent failed to see his shadow at dawn Tuesday morning this past week —  meaning he “predicted” an early spring. http://www.fox5dc.com/news/83896770-story

How good is that reserve supply of blooms in your plants right now?

I’m not ready to suggest it will be an early spring in 2016, but I think the real elephant in the room right now has to do with “the reserve supply of good blooms remaining in these plants?”  I pointed out in an earlier advisory this month, that conditions in FEB and MARCH do not favor added flower bud development, and so the yield potential of this year’s crop will depend on your reserve of blooms that did not emerge in Dec and early Jan.

Minimum temp information for states in Mid-South and Maryland


Min Temp Table NC


Min Temp Table VA


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


Min Temp Table MD


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


Min Temp Table SC


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


Min Temp Table GA


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


Congratulations to Bob Rouse – recipient of HARRY G. BLACK DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

This past week at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Bob Rouse received the very prestigious Harry G. Black Distinguished Service Award! This award is given, when deemed appropriate by the Executive Board, to a person who is a member of the Maryland State Horticultural Society making a significant contribution in the state of Maryland this year and in years past. Although primarily intended to be given to a fruit grower or those involved in fruit production, it may be given to a person in an allied industry such as processing, a state employee, a county agent, university personnel, or to any other person making a special contribution to the fruit industry.

Please be sure to pass on your congratulations to Bob at bjragri03@comcast.net

Dr. Bill Lamont (email: wjl1@psu.edu), received the Lifetime Service Award, at the same ceremony in Hershey this week!

Bill had this to say about Bob:

“Our friend Bob R. was honored an award which he richly
deserved. We enjoyed conversing about the fun times we have had together
over the years and our friendship and work with you.”

Our sincere congratulations to both Bob and Bill!

Go Panthers!

Barclay Poling

p.s. Are there times when you should definitely NOT do field sanitation? Yes, if you think there is a possibility of anthracnose infection in your crop, workers will actually spread this disease by “touching plants.”  If you see any green fruit such as the one shown in photo below, proceed to have a sample of this kind of fruit sent to a lab for diagnosis. If if comes back C. acutatum, it is not advisable to do hand removal of dead leaves and flowers.