By Clint Thompson
Sub-freezing temperatures in the forecast for this weekend could impact winter vegetable crops in the Southeast.
Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discusses the impact that growers in Alabama and Georgia could see beginning Friday night.
“If it stays below freezing for a whole day, that’s going to impact some things. Onions will tolerate low teens pretty well, so I think they’ll be okay, borderline. Stuff like broccoli that has a head forming, that’s going to be messed up. Carrots are pretty tough, but the tops might get burned back,” Coolong said. “Lets say if Colquitt County gets down to like 14 (degrees Fahrenheit) or something, it’s going to do some damage.
“I will say the good thing is that we’re mostly through the fall crop harvest as far as brassicas go. We still have crops in the field, onions, carrots and things like that, but it’s not as intense as earlier in the fall.”
The impact should be felt statewide since vegetable production is occurring in South Georgia and in the onion-producing region of Southeast Georgia.
“I would say with carrots, we’ve got a little bit over in east Georgia, and then the bulk of it is down in Echols County. Of course, onions are in Toombs and Tattnall counties, they have the vast majority of onions. Then the leafy green brassica crops, we have some patches all around the state, but mostly that’s in Tift and Colquitt counties,” Coolong said.
According to weather.com, low temperatures in Tifton, Georgia are expected to drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday night. Temperatures will drop in all areas in the Southeast, including those where citrus is planted in the cold-hardy region.
“I’m curious to see if it does get that cold, some of the citrus that’s been planted, how will it impact those trees? It really hasn’t been that cold since the winter of 2014,” Coolong said. “Honestly, I don’t know, so I’m curious to see what happens.”