Strawberry Farmers Say Late Spring Freeze Could Destroy Crops

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DRESDEN, Tenn. — Strawberry farmer Ben Moore is scrambling to prepare his plants for Tuesday night’s cold temperatures. With a later than normal freeze in the forecast, Moore says he’s afraid he’ll lose his crop planted near Dresden for the second time this season. “About a month ago it dipped down to around 20 [degrees] and I had blooms on my plants at that time,” Moore said. “I had covers on the plants and we lost all that crop.” Farmers say strawberry plants will bloom, as long as temps stay above 30 degrees. Since it’s expected to dip into the high 20s on Tuesday night, farmers are taking every precaution. “These covers are meant to work at that type temperature,” Moore said. “When you get much lower than that our covers they won’t be very effective.” Farmer Denton Parkins over at Green Acres Berry Farm in Milan is also working against the clock. “When the temp gets to 34 tonight we will start the equipment,” Parkins said. Parkins added that they’ve experienced a cold snap in the past, that’s why he says his expensive freeze prevention system is worth the investment. “It’s a theory that works, but when water goes from a liquid to a solid, that takes energy and that energy is released in heat,” Parkins said. Both Parkins and Moore say they’re ready for warmer weather. “I’m looking forward to winter being over with,” Moore said. “We’ve really struggled this year with colder temps.” Moore says his strawberries are typically ready for picking in late April, but this late freeze could push it back at least a few weeks. Farmers say they don’t expect the price of the berries to go up.

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