Texas fruit crops appear to have escaped freeze damage

03/04/2014 01:53:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

click image to zoomRed Baron peachesLarry Stein, Texas AgriLife ExtensionPeaches, such as the Red Baron variety pictured here, weren't in full bloom during the most recent cold snap that hit Texas.Blossoms on peaches and other fruit trees in the Texas Hill Country appear to have escaped the most recent cold snap without wholesale damage.

But a Texas A&m AgriLife Extension specialist said it's still too early to tell for sure, according to a news release.

Only last year, cold weather hit during peak bloom time, decimating the Hill Country crop.

This year, the trees weren't quite as far into the bloom, which may have helped save them.

"It got a lot colder than most people thought it was going to get,” horticulturist Larry Stein said in the release. “Unfortunately, we did have trees starting to bloom. We had some peaches that were bloomed out, but most things were just starting to bloom, so we’re optimistic that we had enough buds that were tight enough that they will still develop and set a crop.

"Also, the bud set on most trees was excessive due to the low or no crop the year before, so some thinning was indeed needed.”

The problem isn't the cold weather per se but warm periods in between that spur the fruit trees to break dormancy.

The latest cold spell seemed to have traveled more easterly across Texas, sparing some of the more southern fruit-growing regions, such as the strawberries around Poteet.

Many of the blooms on other fruit trees were still tight, so they weren't damaged, either.

But they could begin to open, should the weather warm up.

If another freeze were to hit in seven to 10 days, then the blooms would be much more susceptible to damage.

If the weather remains cool, bud and shoot development will be slowed, lessening the chance of damage.



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