Lack of cool weather provides challenge for Georgia’s peach growers

SUMTER COUNTY, Ga —  The unseasonably warm weather is not enjoyable for Georgia’s peach farmers.  Without cooler temperatures, peach crops do not flourish.

Peach trees need a certain amount of chill hours to develop fruit.  Chill hours represent hours of cold weather 45 degrees or lower. Right now, Georgia is exceptionally below average for the year.

“Even in 2016 at this time, we were over 700 hours. Now, we’re just a little over 500. That can affect the quality of the peaches, the level of fruit set. There are a lot of things that factor into the chill hours. This warm weather is not good for our peach growers,” says Bill Star, County Extension Coordinator in Sumter County.

In addition to peaches, wheat could be less prolific due to lack of cold weather.

Warmer weather also is bringing turf grass out of dormancy earlier. Starr says it’s important to be careful applying herbicides to turf grass, especially this time of year.

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