Peach growers benefit from cold weather - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peach growers benefit from cold weather

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

MORVEN, GA (WALB) –Some south Georgia crops are suffering because of the frigid weather, but peach growers are benefiting from it.

The cold temperatures actually help with the quality and quantity of the crop.

Peach grower Irvin Lawson hopes this year's harvest will be a good one, thanks to the cold weather.

 "45 degrees and below, when the temperatures get that cold or below it puts that bud into a dormant stage where it can get plenty of rest," said Irvin.

The Lowndes County Extension Office says most peach trees in south Georgia require a minimum of 700 chill hours.

"Once we get the chill hours our quality of fruit improves and the yield improves," said Calvin Willis, Lowndes County Ext. Agent.

However, the weather as we know it in south Georgia can be cold one day and warm the next. Lawson says in November 2008 they got their chill hours but then it warmed up at Christmas time.

"It brought them out of dormancy and January 31st we were full bloom on a lot varieties and we lost two of them cause it turned off cold in February," said Lawson.

He says each of his trees can typically produce 300 peaches and there's about 30,000 trees over 420 acres.

Lawson said they reached 579 chill hours as of yesterday which brings them closer to the 650 hours they need. He says peach growers all across the Southeast are benefiting from this cold weather.

"Carolina Growers and the Georgia growers, they feel good about the chill hours," said Lawson. "Everybody feels like they're gonna have a good peach crop this year."

Lawson says he'd like the temperatures to stay about 36 to 45 degrees for just a little while longer so the ones that need 800 chill hours will get that. Lawson says you can't have too many chill hours. 

The Lowndes County Extension Office says they do have a concern about tree damage with pecans and problems with blueberries.


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