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Spring Freeze: A Growing Problem?


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Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    After a winter of notable extremes in the Northern Hemisphere, a period of renewed volatility has brought both exceptional warmth and unusual cold to mid-latitude areas in early April. Following a very warm March in the eastern U.S., a spring freeze has occurred in the Southeast, and western Europe is also seeing a dramatic change to colder conditions.

    Severe spring freezes can wreak havoc on agricultural operations that involve early-flowering crops such as fruit trees, blueberries, and even winter wheat. For example, Georgia’s peach and blueberry crops suffered large losses in 2017, when a freeze followed exceptional late winter warmth that caused the plants to come out of dormancy much earlier than usual. To illustrate the problem, here’s a chart of Atlanta’s temperatures in early 2017: temperatures were persistently much above normal from mid-January to early March, but then a hard freeze occurred in mid-March. The freeze itself was not climatologically unusual, but the previous warmth was, and the combination of the two was devastating.

    https://worldclimateservice.com/2021/04/05/spring-freeze-a-growing-problem/

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    Posted
  • Location: Maidstone, Kent
  • Weather Preferences: Anything below 0c or above 15c (the sunnier the better!)
  • Location: Maidstone, Kent

    Definitely more of a problem once plants and crops commit themselves to flowering. The cold spells aren't the issue as such, but the proceeding warmth which causes early flowering is. 

    Temperature variations are a part of spring and growers do factor in that some years won't be as good as others. I know wineries for example can churn up the earth next to the vines to stimulate root growth which encourages new buds after a freeze. If the following summer is good then some crops can and do catch up again in time for the harvest.

    Like anything it's okay if this happens occasionally, but if you get it year on year it will then be a big issue.

     

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