Freezing temperatures expected to damage blueberry crops

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The bitter cold could have an impact on blueberries that bloomed early due to a warm January and February.

“For Pender County and surrounding counties, the warmer than normal temperatures in January and February have tricked the many early maturing blueberry varieties into producing blossoms,” Mark Seitz, Pender County Extension Director said in a news release. “In some fields these bushes are at 100 percent bloom, which is four to five weeks ahead of when this should happen.

Seitz said Friday night’s temperatures combined with continuing winds and Saturday’s low temperatures with no wind will cause freeze injury and blueberry crop loss across North Carolina and likely down to Georgia and north Florida.

The amount of damage to these early maturing varieties could be high, Seitz said.

“Thankfully varieties that mature later in the spring for late May June harvest are not in full bloom so the freeze injury and subsequent crop loss may not be as severe.”

Seitz said while there will be blueberries available for farmers to harvest and for people to buy, the total crop loss will not be known until harvest is complete.

Categories: Local, Pender

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