Fruit growers throughout Alabama and the southeast are getting concerned about the mild winter we are experiencing this year. Our fruit crops require a certain amount of colder temperatures during the rest period to be able to resume normal growth in the spring when temperatures warm up. Effective colder temperatures that we need range from 32 - 50 degrees F from October 1st through February 15th. The simple method to clock effective temperatures during this time period is for each hour at or below 45 degrees F we obtain '1' chill hour.
Where weather towers are up and operational you can go to our Peach IPM website to view chill hour information for various locations in Alabama. http://www.aces.edu/dept/peaches/peachipm/index.html
Go to "Climate Information" and click on "Chill Hours Collected".
Areas in Alabama from Birminham south will likely be short on needed "chill hours". The deficit in chill hours will likely be higher as you move south. Extended forecasts for central Alabama indicate an estimated accumulation of 100 chill hours over the next 2 weeks. This would put Chilton County ranging from 530 to 700 chill hours by 1/23/12. Only 2.5 weeks more would remain to get the 350 more hours we would need for the highest chill hour requiring varieties of peaches.
Growers need to also keep in mind that with most peach varieties, the leaf buds require 150 to 200 more chill hours than the flower bud. On some farms, growers are considering use of a product to aid in rest-breaking.
Posted by boozert at January 9, 2012 08:34 AM
March 28, 2005 'Sureprince' Rest-breaking Study Block