Grower Feedback on Need for Row Covers (12:30pm, 12/27/17)
Grower 1 – Whitakers, NC
This is my thinking on the upcoming cold event for my area: I have not covered the strawberries and looking at forecast lows – I don’t plan to this time. I like to hold off on covers as long as I can. It has been a relatively warm winter so far and I don’t want to push the crop at this point. I think they need at least one really cold event without covers.Tues Jan 2nd looks to be my coldest morning with a possible 13. If I read your advisory correct then I should be okay (not great but okay) at this temp. After that it warms back up to lows in the 20’s which is great this time of year.Do you agree with my line of thinking? I don’t want to cause damage but at the same time I don’t want to push the crop either.Thanks
Reply: I looked at Whitakers, NC and you are correct, a low of 12-13 F is in forecast for Tue morning next week (Jan 2). I agree that row covers are not likely needed with this minimum temperature.
Grower 2 – Waldorf, MD
we pulled our covers on Christmas Eve. Based on weather forecasts for the next 2 weeks and because I had extra people around. No such
thing as a free lunch around here.
Reply – I looked at Waldorf (20601) and with a low in range of 12-14 on Mon/Tue, I concur with the decision to have pulled the covers.
Further north of you in S. Jersey, they may be seeing temperatures as low as 1 F on Tue morning, and that is a definite row cover situation. We once had an experience on Christmas Eve near Wilmington, NC, when temperatures plunged below 0 F, and that pretty much “ended” our strawberry season for the next year. I am especially concerned for growers in areas with temperatures in single digits – these are the growers that need to be pulling row covers ASAP. The really critical time period for getting these covers on will be next Monday, New Years Day before the bottom falls out in higher mountain areas and further northern locations like Millville, New Jersey.