Freezing cold weather is set to wash over the state of Florida tonight into tomorrow night, so please be prepared!
A few comments about freeze protection in orchards:
- Be sure that your orchard is well-watered – we will be getting sun each day, and wet soil has a greater capacity to absorb heat, and also release it during the night, offering a few degrees of protection.
- Watch the weather – and keep your coffee pot going. For those in Central Florida and to the south, it looks like the temperature will drop to a critical period around 2 a.m. on Friday morning. However, if the wind is too high, you may induce evaporative cooling rather than protect the fruit, which can do more severe damage.
- Know what your irrigation system capabilities are to be able to meet the appropriate water output.
- See: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ch182 – this is for citrus, but the principles that they go over, like reading a sling psychrometer are useful to understand.
- Hold off on any orchard related activities, like thinning fruit – the cold weather may do a good job of that for you!
Weather Related Resources:
- The National Weather Service – http://www.noaa.gov/ – just put in your city or zip. I find that the best resource is a graph like this which gives you the temperature and wind speed which is important:
For those of you that might be stressed – have heart! It won’t be as cold as it will be in Citra, FL at our research plots for peaches and blueberries!
As always, if you have any questions, please contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope that everyone had a FANTASTIC Christmas vacation (ala Clark Kent style) and is having a great start to their new year. As we start off this new year, cold weather comes knocking on our door in north central Florida, a normal occurrence.
Freeze warnings/wind chill advisories (1/7/15)
There maybe some of you in north central Florida that are closely watching the weather tonight. For the following counties, there is a hard freeze warning:
The good news is that hopefully, the peach trees are still resting are not in full bloom. For a guide to bud stages and their tolerance to cold temperatures – click here.
For counties to the south and east, it’s a freeze warning:
Again – I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about unless the wind speed drops down. However, NOAA is forecasting a blustery night with wind speeds sustained at over 15 mph. In most cases, frost protection would not be turned on with these advective conditions. Most all others in the peach growing region of Central Florida will have mid to upper 30s so stay warm!
Well, here we go with the rollercoaster of temperatures in central and south central Florida. So what is going on with the peach trees right now?
Don’t worry! The peach trees are headed into dormancy, and although the buds have the possibility of suffering a minor amount of damage (<10%), we don’t anticipate any major issues with flower bud damage. There is NO need to turn on irrigation for frost protection tonight and it is expected to warm slightly tomorrow night, so no frost protection for the next night as well.
The UF Stone Fruit Research/Extension team has a new project in cooperation with Georgia (UGA) for both blueberries and peaches and we will be tracking bud damage as a result of the expected freeze event tonight at our research plots in Citra, FL. We be looking at flower buds in TropicBeauty peach and Emerald and Jewel blueberry varieties. When we have the information, we will be posting it here on the blog, as well as on our website, http://hos.ufl.edu/extension/stonefruit.
Freeze Watch/Warning Information:
For a list of current freeze warnings and watches: http://alerts.weather.gov/cap/fl.php?x=1.
In January and early February, we all deal with the waves of cold fronts that dip down from the Canadian Arctic. However, as many growers are in full swing with bloom or have just started, these cold waves keep us all up at night.
At Citra in one of our plots that has some bloom occurring, we have turned on the water on the following dates:
- Tuesday, January 7th
- Friday, January 17th
- Saturday, January 18th
- Sunday, January 19th
- Wednesday, January 22nd
We will continue to monitor tonight (Friday, January 24th) for cold weather, since it looks like the wind will be dying down. The graph below details the actual temperatures for the Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV) which is a few degrees colder than what we observe in our research plots at Citra.
This graph shows the minimum temperatures for January for Citra – and you can find out this type of information for a FAWN station near you with this link: http://agroclimate.org/tools/climate-risk/.
What are some tools that you can use to help decide when to turn the water on? One thing I can offer – the wind will almost always kick the temperature up a degree, so be on the lookout and carry a good thermometer with you as you are driving around the orchard. Your car thermometer may not be the most accurate, so don’t count on that.
Good luck tonight, and stay warm!