NC peaches blooming early, farmers concerned

(WBTV)

LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) – Peach Grower Jeff Crotts looked at the peach blooms in his Lincoln County Orchard Thursday and just shook his head.

“I’ve never seen blooms this early,” he said.

This winter has been the warmest he can remember. He says now it has put his 2017 peach crop in jeopardy.

“Nothing we can do about it, just pray that the good Lord wants us to have it this year,” he said.

Once peach trees bloom, the crop is vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Most blooms and small peaches can survive temperatures near 32 degrees. But if that drops into the mid-20s, Crotts says, that poses a huge danger.

The last date for a chance of freezing temperatures in his orchard is traditionally the first week of May. In most years, there are no freezing temperatures from mid-April on.

This year – the way the weather has been – he is not sure what to expect.

“We will probably have some more frosts and freezes, but you never know what will happen,” he said.

One positive from the warm winter, he says, is his strawberry crop. It is so far along this year there is a chance picking could start in just a week. If freezing temperatures come, he can cover it to protect it.

“We will just wait and see what happens,” he said.

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