Spring Freeze Damage to the 1996 Peach and Nectarine Crop in the Southeastern United States

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 USDA-ARS Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, 21 Dunbar Road, Byron, GA 31008.
  • | 2 Department Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634.
  • | 3 North Louisiana Experiment Station, Calhoun, LA 71225.
  • | 4 Department Horticulture, North Carolina State Univ., Releigh, NC.
  • | 5 Extension Horticulture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 6 Extension Horticulture, University Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793.

This paper describes the climatic and cropping conditions in the major peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] producing areas in the southeastern United States in 1996. The peach and nectarine crop was the smallest since 1955 due to a series of unusually cold temperatures in February, March, and April. Crop set was not strictly a function of late blooming. No variety produced a full crop across the region. Many reputedly hardy peaches cropped poorly. The only peach or nectarine varieties that produced substantial crops in multiple locations were `La Premiere', `Ruston Red', and `Contender'. Cropping ability of some breeding selections shows that peach frost tolerance may be improved further.