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Georgia's peach crops thrive in chilly winter temperatures

While cold temperatures are actually harmful to many crops, peach trees actually benefit from the chilly temperatures.

Fort Valley Area Peach Agent Jeff Cook: "This time of year is nothing but positive, cold weather's great, as long as our buds are tied to the tree and they're not swelling. Anything under 45 degrees is considered a chill hour. So anything under there from about the first of October when we consider dormant up until February 15th or so is good. The different varieties of peaches require a certain amount of chill."

However, extremely cold temperatures can cause severe damage to the crop. According to Cook, if it does drop below freezing, you can get multiple different types of injuries for the fruit. Sometimes the cold injury can just hurt the flowers of the fruit but there can also be light frost on a young fruit damaging the fruit itself.

In addition, having a mild or warm winter can adversely affect the peach crop as well. And just like everything else, the peach crop has also been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. "Well I guess the biggest thing with the pandemic and everything is, getting the workers here because we work on the guest worker program, so without that program, we would not have enough domestic help to actually pick peaches and get them pruned and everything," said Cook.


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