Peach bloom damage does not translate to ruined crop

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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The cold weather that has been coming through the area in waves in recent weeks has brought questions and concern about the effect it will have on Chilton County peach crops.

“Bloom damage doesn’t equate to crop damage,” Regional Extension Agent Gary Gray said.

According to Gray, who specializes in commercial horticulture, 10 to 30 percent bloom survival can still produce a crop of 100 percent.

Only 10 percent of blooms are necessary if they are given the proper spacing.

That means orchards can still produce what equates to a full crop despite enduring a certain amount of bloom loss.

The effect that the cold temperatures had was also dependent on the variations of peaches.

Gray stated that early and lower to medium chilling varieties were hit the hardest, as the blooms were more open and therefore more susceptible than later or higher chilling types.

The variations that mature later were in earlier stages of development and at less risk of a late freeze.

Another saving grace from the cold weather was with orchards that were unpruned, which led to them once again being less advanced in their bloom development and less impacted by the drastic temperature changes.