Quite Cold Next Thur Morning (2/11/16)…posted Sat Morning (2/6/16)
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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)
Fig. 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.
Table 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!
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.
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
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.
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!
Fig. 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.
Fig. 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Bill Lamont (email: email@example.com), 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!
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.