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VSC News: Peach Producers Wary of Late-Season Frost

With the cold weather we have been having in the Southeast (although it is nothing compared to Texas and the central US), the number of chill hours that our fruit crops have received this year is quite a bit more than last year, although still below the long-term average amounts. That means that most varieties are ready to start blooming as soon as warm weather moves in. I hear that the buds are already swelling in central Georgia, so it won’t be long. But the average last frost date is still a few weeks away, so producers are understandably worried about an early bloom followed by an average or late frost. This is especially true this year with the ups and downs we have had in temperature. Vegetable and Specialty Crop News wrote about this in https://vscnews.com/freeze-peach-producers-frost-georgia-alabama/. It looks like we are returning to a warmer pattern, so bud break is getting closer every day.

If you want to know what the chill hours are in Georgia and Florida, you can use the AgroClimate calculator at https://agroclimate.org/tools/chill-hours-calculator/. We also have a chill hour for the UGA Weather Network in Georgia at https://www.georgiaweather.net/?content=calculator&variable=ch&type=cd. The graph below shows the accumulated chill hours for Peach County GA from October 1, 2020, to the present.