Sweet Charlie at Green Fruit Stage in Nash Co., NC (10am, Feb. 21, 2017)

— Written By Barclay Poling
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Good morning!

I received this photo of Sweet Charlie yesterday from a grower in Nash County, NC (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. On 2/20/17 this photo of Sweet Charlie was sent to me by a strawberry grower in Nash Co. The gower added this message with the photo:  “A Sweet Charlie plant. This is nuts.”  I tend to agree!

I went back to re-calculate the total GDD units at this location in Nash County as of yesterday (Table 1), as I wanted to take advantage of AccuWeather Pro’s most current forecast information for the balance of this month. And, it now looks like this location could accumulate 153  GDD units in Feb. 2017 (previously we projected 134)

Table 1. Year-to-year comparison for GDD accumulation in February (Nashville, NC)

Year GDD Units
2017 153
2016 6

Now, what is interesting here is to look back at 2012 (the last really early year), and see that this same location had 128 GDDs from Jan 1-Mar 10 (2012).

So, I went back and looked at GDDs for Jan 2017 for this location, and we picked up 28 GGD units in that month – making for a total of 181 for Jan-Feb 2017. Then, I also used AccuWeather Pro to examine potential GGD units for March 1-10, and I came up with an additional 24 units. Thus, it would appear that this location is going to have about 205 GDD units for the period Jan 1-Mar 10, 2017. All I can say is WOW! You may recall from Saturday’s advisory a table where I showed in 2012 that Camarosa was about 17% bloom on 3/7/12 with only 117 GDD units. Without speaking to the grower today, I am guessing that Camarosa may now be in a very significant bloom (maybe a dozen blossoms per plant?).

 Table 2. EARLY Season Dates GDU Accum
<5% bloom est2/29/12 90.5
~15% bloom est 3/7/12 117
17.33% 3/14/12 165
69.33% 3/19/12 244
 1st berries 3/30/12 398
 open to public 4/8/12 480
heavy harvest 4/13/12 502

Maryland update on Tuesday, Feb 21:

This exceptional warm weather prompted a call from Bob Rouse this morning at about 8 a.m., and this is what Bob had to share:

1. NOW is good time to take a good look under the covers and see whats going on. Especially, take a look at  Sweet Charlies and dayneutrals  you have planted. I

2. If you need to slow them up and have the labor you may wish to un-cover for this warm spell.

3. But, be prepared to recover by or before weekend rain and cooler temps (Editor’s note: colder temps and wind desiccation damage (burning of leaves) are the main reasons these growers will be recovering the Sweet Charlies and day-neutrals. Chandler will remain covered – even during this warmer week. Fortunately, Chandler does an excellent job of “holding back” its blooms!) …thanks so much for this update Bob!

VA Reports

Va Beach – I learned from Tom Baker yesterday that his crop has been uncovered during this warm stretch of weather

Moseley Va (near Richmond) – Aaron Goode shared some very interesting temperature data with me late yesterday afternoon just before sunset. His crop remains covered right now, and he measured a temperature under the cover at canopy height of 71 F and the outside (ambient) temperature was 61 F at about 5:30 p.m. He also measured the temperature in aisle area just above the soil surface, at it was also 61 F. He has no plans of uncovering. Here is his Skybit – you can see that it might get down to 32 in canopy at his location early Monday morning.

South Carolina

I was astounded at how warm the forecast is going to be this week in areas like Florence: Feb 21 (72F high); Feb 22 (74F); Feb 23 (79F); Feb 24 (82F); Feb 25 (83F); Feb 26 (58 F); Feb 27 (64F) and Feb 28 (71 F)

Eric Hunter of Easley tells me that his covers are off, and will remain that way until needed!

Regional Temperature Outlooks from AWIS:

Maryland Md Temp Outlook

North Carolina NC Temp Outlook

Virginia VA Temp Outlook

South Carolina SC Temp Outlook

Georgia GA Temp Outlook