As said in the previous post, bud break is upon us in the piedmont and lower mountain regions of northern Georgia.
Please pay attention to the cooler temperatures over the next two nights as related to freeze/frost damage of buds; looks like temperatures will be more moderate starting Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Some may not be far enough into bud break to warrant frost protection measures. Others may not own any active frost protection measures to implement. It looks like some clouds may be moving in and wind may be sustained above 5 to 10 mph. Wind machines are not effective in windy, advective freeze-type conditions. Please consider the weather and bud break progress at your local site and act accordingly.
Once we make it through bud break and put the “spring frost season” behind us, the first cultural practice that will need implemented is shoot thinning. Shoot thinning limits fruit zone and canopy crowding, resulting in better air movement, drying, and fungicide penetration. Shoot thinning also moderates crop yield. Shoot thinning is most effectively implemented in a narrow window of about 10 days. This “window” starts when fruitful vs. non-fruitful shoots can be identified (roughly four or five leaves separated and/or shoots are 4-5″ long) and ends roughly when shoots have about eight leaves separated and/or shoots are 12-16″ long. Here is a forthcoming extension publication (just waiting on final editing stages before it will be available online through UGA’s Extension website) that will hopefully guide shoot thinning: