A late winter cold snap damages crops across the United States
(NBC News) -
Spring has officially sprung and fruit farmers in the South are keeping a close eye on their crops. After an unusually warm February many peach trees and berry bushes bloomed early this year. Then the blooms were damaged by last week's deep freeze.
"When we see people wearing shorts in February, that's not good for us." says Virginia Greenhouse manager David Goode.
It's a weather roller coaster that is wreaking havoc on the Spring fruit crop and worrying farmers.
"See that's the beginnings of a little peach there." says Goode as he examines his orchard.
Across the South and Mid-Atlantic states, farmers are waiting to see how much damage was done after freezing temperatures settled in on early blooms.
From peaches to blueberries to strawberries, it is clear some crops have been lost. The question is how many?
"We have cold nights now in March that effect the blossoms. If there are nothing to pollinate for the bees, then we have no fruit." says Goode
When temperatures dipped into the teens last week farmers resorted to extreme measures to keep the plants warm. They used fire to warm the fields in Georgia.
South Carolina farmers sprayed the bushes with water to insulate the blossoms with ice to keep the blooms at a maintained temperature.
Washington DC's famed cherry trees will happen, but won't be as spectacular as in year's past.
The park services estimates fifty percent of the trees were damaged during last week's freeze.
As March lives up to its reputation of coming in like a lion, but will hopefully go out like a lamb.