What a Cold Week! What Does That Mean for Peaches?
~2 Minute Read
Here's the Scoop:
Because we are still in winter, this week of cold weather was good for peach crops.
Peaches need about 1,000 "cold hours" under 40-45 degrees to recover from producing peaches all summer.
Here at The Peach Brothers' home base, Tennessee, it was a cold and icy week. It started with 3 inches of snow. Next was a half-inch of ice followed by more snow (4 inches.)
While not out of the ordinary for our northern states, down here, it closed us down for a week. However, the snow is starting to melt, and we're able to scrape the ice and snow off our cars.
With this frigid weather, are the peaches going to be ok?
Well, we have good news! Because it's still winter and temperatures aren't trending warmer yet, you don't need to not worry about our peaches getting hurt by cold. This week was helpful for them! (Err, we mean, the ice wasn't ideal. But, when is it really?)
Each summer, peach trees work incredibly hard to provide us with delicious peaches. And like our bodies after running a marathon, the trees need to rest as well. However, trees rest differently than we do. Humans sleep and eat to recover, peach trees like the temperature to drop low and stay low for a long time!
In the peach farming language, peach trees need a certain amount of "cold hours" each winter to recover from their work during the summer.
Cold hours mean that the temperature is under a certain degree for one hour. This temperature and number of hours vary from state to state and farm to farm; however, it's usually something like 1,000 hours under 40-45 degrees. If we don't reach these cold hour numbers, the trees don't get their beauty sleep and can hurt the crop.
Once the trees reach their cold hour requirements and the weather starts warming up, we need it to stay warm! A late frost once peach trees start to bloom is not ideal.
In 2017, Georgia and South Carolina did not reach their cold hours by a lot. Thus, it resulted in a 90% crop loss in Georgia and a 100% crop loss in South Carolina.
So when it comes to cold weather, bring it on! But, uh, maybe a little less ice next time?