Heat Impact on Georgia Watermelons

Jim Rogers Georgia, Watermelon, Weather

By Clint Thompson

High temperatures in Georgia the past couple of weeks should have a positive and negative impact on the state’s melon crops.

Georgia Watermelons
Rows of watermelon in North Florida, trees, leaves. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.
Georgia Watermelons
Tim Coolong

Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discussed what growers experience when temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

“I think the quality of the fruit is going to be really quite good. The thing is, though, you might have a lot of fruit ripen up really quickly. I have a feeling that, say maybe cantaloupes, maybe your harvest is typically two and a half, maybe three weeks if you’re pushing it, I would think that window is going to tightened up quite a bit. Those fruit are just going to get ready pretty fast,” Coolong said.

“I think the quality is good. I just think certain crops will probably finish up a little earlier.”

According to the University of Georgia Weather Network, temperatures in Tifton, Georgia, reached 97F on Monday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 15.

The scorching temperatures have also forced producers to apply products to protect against sunburn, which is a fear when the sun is shining with little cloud cover.

“We would use any number of shading type of products like kaolin, a calcium-based product. I’ve had several county agents call about growers putting shade material out. It’s pretty typical for guys to do that, but I think the heat is making them more cognizant of that,” Coolong said.