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What Does a Groundhog Know? About as Much as the Weather Man!

On February 2nd neither Beauregard Lee or Punxatawney Phil saw there shadow meaning that there would be an early spring.  Well since then we have had 110 chill hours which is more than we received in any of the past 4 years.  So where will we be on the 15th to finish out this winter.  I could make a guess but it would be about as reliable as a groundhog.

We should be really close to the 750 hour mark by Monday so most of our peaches will have the cold weather that they need to produce good yields of high quality fruit.  However, being 100 hours or more short can cause yield losses and quality issues.  Although we normally cut off chill hour accumulation on the 15th of February many feel that we can continue to count chill hours past this date if temperatures remain cold.

I have not been involved in peaches long enough to know how this will all work out, but we are keeping track of chill hours and researching ways to combat low chill hours.  We hope that this year will be a great year for peaches. However , if we are low on chill hours we hope to use this information to better understand chill hours and have a better understanding of how to use products that are supposed to overcome low chill hours.  2/11/2016

Update as of the 15th of February we made it to 744 hours of chill.  This should be good enough for those varieties up to 750 hours.  We will have to monitor our higher chill varieties and see if we can quantify the effects of less than optimal chilling.

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Jeff Cook

About Jeff Cook

County Agriculture Agent in Taylor & Peach Counties, and Area Peach Agent. B.S. Plant Pathology, UGA. Master of Plant Protection and Pest Management, UGA.