Saving Crops From a Frozen Spring

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Spring is a crucial time for crops, and this spring has been colder than usual. With lows expected to dip into the 20’s Tuesday night, those at Isom’s Orchard in Athens are ready to take any precautions necessary to save their peaches.

John Isom is a manager at Isom’s Orchard. He says, “We’re running the water today to actually saturate, to get as much moisture as we can in the ground, and that will give us some heat rise tonight.”

It’s been a cold winter. In some ways that’s actually helped their peaches.

“We’ve had a good deal of cold weather and that’s delayed them a little bit,” says Isom. “Last year the trees started blooming in February, and this year they’ve only started blooming just in the last week to 10 days. That will help us some because the further the peach gets along in its development, the more sensitive it is to the cold.”

But that doesn’t mean there’s no danger tonight. Isom fears the trees will accumulate too much ice and suffer damage tonight.

They can take all the precautions necessary, but a lot of the outcome will depend on good old fashioned luck.

“At this point we’re still hopeful. It is iffy though. You never know how it’s going to work. I’ve actually seen conditions where the stage it’s at right now, that they have survived down to around 20 degrees. And we still had a crop. But every year is different. The next year we’ve seen where it only got to 23, 24 and it killed them off,” says Isom.

Isom says timing is everything. He says the blooms are stronger today than they’ll be in even a week from now.