Grower Preparations for Colder Conditions Coming (8:26am, Wed., March 1, 2017)
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I just received this note from Eric Hunter, Easley, SC:
“We have row covers on. We expect three nights in the mid-20s beginning tomorrow night (Thur). Rain and thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight.”
Eric added, “I’d say we are easily two weeks ahead, and possibly three. 8-10 blooms per plant. I anticipate an early April opening. Normal is April 20-25. A cool March may slow them down (see our weekly Outlooks).
Easter freeze scenario? Eric continued, “I am going to have to purchase new row covers in the fall, so I think I’m gonna go ahead and buy them now just in case we have another “Easter freeze” or similar scenario, allowing me to double cover.”
This might be a good time for you to get covers “on”this Wed morning before rains? Eric is going to see mid-20s and that can do lots of damage. Check out how cold your area may be getting below. The covers should def. provide adequate crop protection for mid-20s. I have seen where a low temp of 22 in canopy will cause damage, even with 1.25 oz cover. Growers who may see low 20s and do not have extra covers to double up with, will have to consider irrigation on top of covers if there area is headed for the very low 20s!
In Pickens, SC, for example, I noted in the AWIS Hourly forecast that winds today could reach 15 mph, but will be subsiding tomorrow and Friday morning it will be down to 30 F, and Sat morning 23 F (winds still) and frost at about 4 a.m. — with a low of 23 at 6 a.m., I am confident a 1.25 oz cover should be effective (alone).Pickens Hourly Detailed Weather Forecast
Switching over to VA, I see Chesapeake will possibly see FROST on Friday morning when winds are low, but then Saturday it may not frost at all because of what appear to be steady winds all night and morning. The low Saturday morning will be 29, and a row cover will offer very good protection. Over in Chesapeake on Monday, we were at a farm that had just used overhead irrigation for frost protection Sunday night/Mon morning. Sprinkling can also be quite effective (alone) under the types of conditions in the forecast for Chesapeake. For instance, a grower could start sprinkling at about 4 a.m. on Friday when wet bulb hits 33 F, and just keep running until ice is melting nicely in the morning after sunrise. As far as “the next night” in Chesapeake, you can see winds will be a definite factor, but winds are also going to mitigate any frost forming on blossoms, and with a minimum of 29 F, the blossoms should make it through ok (as long as it doesn’t frost). Barclay Poling – Chesapeake Hourly Detailed Weather Forecast
Multi-state hourly forecast information for MD-SC-VA-NC-GA
Maryland MD Temp Outlook
South Carolina SC Temp Outlook
Virginia VA Temp Outlook
(SEE MARYLAND FOR MAPS OF MINS FOR FRI and SAT)
North Carolina NC Temp Outlook
Georgia GA Temp Outlook
p.s. I am going to “chicken out” on all this cold weather and head back down to FL to continue with harvest of our advanced selection research plots there (photo below is one of the very nice selections we’ve been harvesting this winter)
FOR THE RECORD – POSSIBLY THE EARLIEST PEAK BLOOM FOR CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN DC!
Between the record-warm February and the outlook for more above-average temperatures in the coming weeks, we predict the cherry trees will reach peak bloom between March 15 and 19 — about two weeks ahead of the April 1 average peak bloom. If it happens on March 15, it will tie for the earliest on record from 1990. The National Park Service has documented peak bloom dates since 1921.