South Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers has been talking with fruit producers around the state, and hearing their concerns on the lack of winter this year.
Many peach growers are saying that their trees are breaking dormancy and blooming, some as many as 45 days early, which is a concern. Not only are the trees subject to killing frost, but many varieties haven’t received the minimum number of chilling hours.
Strawberry producers are also concerned, plants in the ground since fall are also breaking dormancy, some are already producing fruit.
The warm winter is also giving assistance to the state’s insect population. Not only has it not been cold enough to knock the populations back, insects are more active, earlier than usual.