Freeze potential has N.C. fruit growers concerned

Freeze potential has N.C. fruit growers concerned
The crop can take some freezing weather but not extended for hours. The key will be how cold it gets and for how long. (Source: Steve Ohnesorge/WBTV)

LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Fruit growers in Lincoln County have a couple of sleepless nights ahead as temperatures are expected to dip well below freezing in the pre-dawn hours.

At Knob Creek Orchards, grower Jeff Crotts says the apples, peaches, and pears are all in bloom and are vulnerable.

“They are at a critical point right now,” he said.

The crop can take some freezing weather but not extended for hours. The key will be how cold it gets and for how long.

Forecasters say the cold temperatures will hit on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Crotts says there is no way to predict how bad his crops could be hurt.

“I’ve seen em killed at 32 degrees and I’ve seen em not killed at 21 degrees, so who knows?,” Crotts said.

There is nothing he can do to protect the apples, peaches and pears but he is doing something about the strawberries.

Crews Thursday covered up the strawberry fields with to ward off the extreme cold and frost.

He thinks it will work and hopes picking can begin in about three weeks.

As for the other fruit crops, it will take a couple of weeks for the full extent of freeze damage to show up, he says, and added “I hope I don’t see any at all.”

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