‘Alarming’: Peach farmers worried cold temps could return as crops bloom early

The warm weather has caused one of the earliest blooms on record for peach growers in the Carolinas and spring doesn’t officially start for weeks.

Some farmers in Cleveland County are worried this year’s crops could be damaged if freezing temperatures return.

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Jeff Crotts, of Knob Creek Orchards in western Cleveland County, is nervous because so many trees have already bloomed.

“It’s alarming,” he said.

One night of temperatures falling into the mid-20s could wipe out an entire crop and with the trees blooming early, there is a greater chance of that.

“All of the peaches are far enough to where, if we get below freezing, we’re going to have damage,” Crotts said. “We’re going to have significant damage. Everything is so tender.”

Crotts has been farming the land his entire life and has lost crops before.

He said peach growers had a good crop last year.

Farmers hope winter temperatures don’t return in the next two months because trees are blooming two to three weeks early.

“There’s no turning back now,” he said. “It’s here. We have to deal with it.”

Crotts said there will be damage to the crops if the temperature gets down to 28 degrees for three hours.

He believes that could happen over the next several weeks.

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