Delayed Winter Weather, Helping?

February 14, 2012

Seems we are just now beginning to see winter weather. This is typically what happens when we have a warmer than normal winter. We then see cold fronts dopping in on us late in February and scattered through March and early April. Fruit growers have to continue with horticultural and pest management programs. We work the crop as if we are going to have the crop until we see we don't have the crop.
It's obvious that 650 chill hour varieties benefited by the damp cool weather that dominated much of January, even with the temperatures often slightly about 45 degrees F. These varieties are showing considerable bud development and maturity in central Alabama. However, higher chill varieties are not showing much bud movement. I do believe they are benefiting by the colder temperatures we are now seeing. If we get a significant amount of warm weather following this cold front then I think effective chilling will be about over for this season.
A grower in South Carolina told me the other day while we were visitng about the use of rest breaking chemicals on peaches. "We don't need to over farm, we just need to farm". We can't predict the weather or the outcome, we just have to farm based on what we know and where we are in the crop cycle.
Right now it's time to consider dormant oil applications on peach in central Alabama. We normally make a dormant or delayed dormant application of oil at 1%-2% volume/volume application. We also have to consider varieties that have a tendency to have problems with bacterial spot and follow the copper recommendations for reducing or controling that disease. These recommendations and those for other fruit crops can be found in the regional IPM guides.
Strawberries that were not covered when the sub-freezing temperatures came in Sunday monring lost flowers and loose buds if they were not covered or protected. However, these plants will continue to force out new buds and flower with the potential to recover and make our crop. Peaches in flower or pink bud stage were damaged but, from what I've seen the amount of damage was minimal.
Below is an example of the effect of "rest breaking" product applied on January 29, 2002 to 'Cresthaven' peach.
UTC Cresthaven 2002.png
'Cresthaven' Untreated Control, April 5, 2002, photo by Robert Boozer
HC Cresthaven 2002.png

'Cresthaven' 2% Hydrogen Cyanamide, April 5, 2002, photo by Robert Boozer

Posted by boozert at February 14, 2012 03:15 PM