Sub-freezing overnight lows across Tennessee River Valley starting tomorrow night(Thursday night 1/27/17) and into next week may cause problems for Strawberry Producers.
A cold front will push east across the Tennessee River Valley today and into tonight.
Behind the front cooler, more seasonable temperatures of overnight lows in the upper 20’s and Lower 30’s will be the rule for the next few days.
Unfortunately the cool pattern will continue into next week as the 6 to 10 day extended outlook shows below normal temperatures.
While these lows are considered normal January and February, as show below with the image on the left with lows generally in the 20’s in January across Tennessee and in the 30’s for February with the graphic on the right, they may cause damage with strawberry plants.
It’s Winter, Why is the Cold a Concern for Strawberry Producers?
The problem is this area has seen average temperatures of 9 to 12F above normal in the past month. Given the plants had already experienced their required in field chilling hours, the warmer temperatures promoted early growth.
According to an article published by the Middle Tennessee Growers association on Monday January 23, 2017
“With the recent extended stretch of above normal temperatures, strawberry plants have received all the cold they need and have started to become active. This means that they are no longer capable of withstanding low temperatures without damage.”
Hence there is concern for cold damage with lows below freezing over the next several days. Karla Dean and Dave Lockwood at UT Extension recommend that strawberry growers should apply loosely shaken straw mulch.
“Ideally you want 2 to 3 inch cover over the entire planting.”
They also highlight that leaves are not a good alternate to straw.
The University of Main has a video of how to apply the straw as well as alternative covering options to straw.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.
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