Saturday’s Field Visits in Eastern NC, and Frosty Conditions Return Late in the Week (7pm, 2/28/16)

— Written By Barclay Poling
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Good evening,

I wanted to share some highlights of my field visit to Eastern NC yesterday afternoon. As everyone knows, we had a pretty good frost yesterday morning in NC with a number of areas going into mid-20s. But, in the fields I visited yesterday, I could not identify any benefit from having re-applied row covers.

No benefit from covering:   This was likely due to the fact that: 1) many of the emerged flower buds had already been killed by previous freeze events (Fig. 1), and 2) it really did not get cold enough (mid-20s) to cause injury to the “live” emerged buds (Fig. 2). But, for any growers with open blossoms, applying row covers for this particular cold event was a good idea. But, they did not appear to be needed for emerged tight buds.

budsFig. 1. These emerged “tight” flower buds (and blooms) were harvested from a single Camarosa fresh dug plant yesterday at 1 p.m. in Faison, NC,  and we noted 6 dead flower buds and blooms, and 6 live tight flower buds ( 2.27.16). None of the dead buds appeared to have been injured by yesterday morning’s frost in mid-20s. However, a freeze on Valentine’s Day morning with a low in upper teens was the likely culprit!

revised-tableFig. 2. It did not appear that a frost with minimums in the mid to upper 20s caused any damage to emerged “tight” flower buds on 2.27.16. Most of the plants that I saw yesterday had only been recently cleaned up in the last week, and had no fully expanded new leaves. However, these plants can grow off quickly, especially after a few days of warmer temperature conditions!

DSC_0028 DSC_0029Figs. 3 & 4. This particular Camarosa field had been cleaned up a week ago, and you could see new leaves “pushing out” from the center of the plant, but these are not fully expanded. These plants are still quite hardy, and it would likely take a minimum temperature in low 20s/upper teens, to cause any serious damage to the emerged tight bud stage. These plants are also “still a ways” from being in bloom.

albion field on 2.27cleaned albionFigs. 5 &6. These Albion plants had only recently been cleaned up, and you can tell they are “behind” in development compared to Camarosa plant shown in Fig. 4 that were cleaned up a week earlier.

Looking ahead to this week, there will be several days of very frosty conditions starting Thursday morning. But, temperatures may not be cold enough to be damaging to emerged flower buds  (need to reach mid-20s, or lower). Early varieties, like Sweet Charlie, may be reaching the popcorn and open bloom stage any day now. Crops in popcorn and open bloom stage will require protection against the frosty conditions expected late this week.

Also, if you have been keeping your Camarosa and/or Chandler under row covers for an extended period this winter,  you need to check these plants for presence of live popcorn and open blossoms. There is no point in forcing them, and then losing them to an easily managed frost!  Be sure to get the row covers back on by no later than 2 p.m. in the day prior to the first frost event – they will likely then remain in place for at least several days.

Check out the AWIS 10-Day Detailed Forecast for Your Area for FROST

If you look at a town/city near your farm in the 10-Day Detailed (AWIS) forecast, you will see the “F” (frost) is in the forecast starting on Thursday morning in the Raleigh-Durham area (Table 2). But, in this piedmont section of the state, the crop is not as advanced as the Coastal Plain and Sandhills, and it is quite likely that NO COVER will be required at the end of this week, and weekend. Again, the emerged tight buds are quite hardy (as was demonstrated this weekend).

2016-02-28_18-41-17Table 2. Note “F” for frost designation in this AWIS 10-Day Detailed forecast for Raleigh Durham area starting on Thursday morning! It may be too windy for frost Friday morning, but frost is likely again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Just click on AWIS 10-Day Forecast for Raleigh Durham (below) to see just how frosty it is going to get towards the end of this week and into early next week! Be sure to check out your area’s frost forecast by AWIS.

Overview of Minimum Temp. & Frost Conditions for MD-VA-NC-SC-GA


Here is the MD statewide min temp table for next 7 days: MD Min Temp Table DETAILED HOURLY WEATHER FORECASTS

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


Here is the VA statewide min temp table for next 7 days: VA Min Temp Table


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

Here is the NC statewide min temp table for next 7 days: NC Min Temp Table

2016-02-28_17-49-53 At Clayton, you will note that SkyBit is calling for canopy minimum of 30 F. These colder conditions later in the week will definitely favor frosts that will be damaging to open blossoms; but, it is unlikely that emerged tight flower buds will be in danger — as far as we can tell tonight! A lot can change during the course of the week.


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

Here is the SC statewide min temp table for next 7 days: SC Min Temp Table


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


Here is the GA statewide min temp table for next 7 days: GA Min Temp Table DETAILED HOURLY WEATHER FORECASTS

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

Questions and Answers:


Mike Wilder, NCDA Agronomist in Zone 6, shared some observations and posed a question.

Hello Barclay,

As I’ve mentioned in my last 2 communiques, we are on the verge of active frost protection. So far so good here though. It’s yet another new year to learn new lessons here in the transition zone + climate change to deal with. Always good to see you and hear what you have to say.

Phenology question:  as we draw near the off / on cover, water season, help me with this one question – is it a safe ballpark assumption to think a newly emerged tight flower bud close to crown might make fruit in +- 40 days?


Actually, the timetable for emerged flower bud to red ripe berry is fairly tricky one to pin down. Let’s recall that for the open bloom stage, it can be 25-30 days, but in a colder season (like last year), some of our first March blooms took nearly 40 days. But, 40-45 days is probably about right with normal temperatures from a large emerged “tight” bud to  red ripe berry. I am looking forward to seeing what our meteorologists will have to say this weekend in their Sunday evening Outlook. I will also be taking some time to examine this week growing degree data for this year vs. the last 2-3 years, and that should also give us a little better idea about when berries will begin to ripen in 2016.
crop ready                 Everyone wants to know when will local berries be RIPE this year?