Frutas y HortalizasFeb. 16, 2011
Bajas termperaturas invernales podrían afectar producción de arándanos y duraznos en Georgia
The state’s cold winter may have a negative impact on two of our sweetest crops, blueberries and peaches. According to State Climatologist David Stooksbury, both blueberries and peaches have received their necessary chill hours to break dormancy and bloom.
The threat now is extended warmer weather which would cause the plants to bloom. The risk is for these blossoms or fruit to be killed by a late winter or early spring freeze. Peaches and blueberries require between 400 and 700 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees, state agriculutural officials told Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist David Chandley. This year most areas have seen between 1,000 and 1,700 hours, Chandley said.
Meeting the chill hours this early in the season is a concern for damage to the summer crop. The La Nina pattern, according to Stooksbury, has been one for the record books. This is the first winter on record that Georgia has experience a colder than normal winter during a La Nina. In the past, a La Nina winter has no impact on the date of Georgia’s last freeze, Stooksbury said. If the blueberries and peaches bloom early, there is a greater probability that will be impacted by a freeze. Stooksbury suggests producers should consider appropriate frost and freeze protection strategies for the next several weeks. The State Department of Agriculture, Georgia’s blueberry crop is worth $102 million annually, while the peach crop is worth $60 million.