Peaches not feelin’ the chillin’

Published 8:13 pm Saturday, October 25, 2008

October has not held the most promising number of chill hours for the dormant peach trees so far.

According to the Chilton County Research and Extension Center, the trees have only had 5 hours of chill hours, which is the amount of hours that the temperature is at or below 45 degrees.

“We have had some really nice cool days and nights. However, the temperature has been bouncing around from 47 degrees one night to 50 degrees the next night. For the chill hours to count, they have to be at or below 45 degrees and the temperature has just not been that low this month,” research agent Bobby Boozer said.

According to Boozer, most of the peach trees here in Chilton County need at least 1,050 chill hours before they can produce a good crop of peaches. He said that, in order to make that happen, the research agents are hoping for at least 1,200 hours this season.

The season started Oct. 1 and will last through Feb. 15, giving the trees only 138 days to accumulate all the chill hours they need. The season now has 113 days left.

“Having only five hours by now is a little low, but there is still some time to catch up. Our 10-year average is 35.7 hours by the end of October, so we still have a chance to catch up,” Boozer said. “It is within January and February that we get our coldest and largest number of chill hours anyway.”