Farmers have new pest to battle: Freezing temperatures

Posted March 22, 2013

— North Carolina farmers are playing defense as spring gets off to a freezing start.

Overnight temperatures dipped into the 20s Thursday, and forecasts call for continued cold weather for the next week to 10 days.

Strawberry farmer Danny Page spent 15 hours late Thursday and early Friday spraying water on his plants to create an icy covering that keeps them from getting colder than 31 degrees.

"It was amazing to me how fast that water was freezing on me, on my coverall and all," Page said. "I had another pair of coveralls on and a raincoat. When I came back in, I looked like an iceman."

"This spell right here is probably the most nervous time I've had doing strawberries," he said. "I've never seen it this cold before on the strawberries."

He said he expects his crop to ripen a week later than normal this year – he said he hopes to have berries ready for Mothers Day – because of the cold weather.

Icy strawberry plant Cold start to spring endangers growing crops

Produce dealers at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh are concerned about other crops.

Ryan Maupin had to load up some of his red pepper seedlings and take them back to Greensboro after the overnight cold damaged them in his truck.

"The cold really hurt them. All the water inside the plants just froze, so they're pretty much just done," Maupin said.


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  • Radioactive Ted Mar 25, 2013

    Who writes these headlines? Freezing temperatures are not 'pests'. There are lots of other words she/he could have used. Maybe WRAL should invest in some dictionaries.

  • mep Mar 22, 2013

    Darn that global warming! Or whatever it is those greedy politicians funding those so-called "scientists" are saying.... LOL.

  • Terkel Mar 22, 2013

    dj, I know you didn't ask, but if you're planting anything but annuals (including most veggies), in the South it's better to wait till Fall. The heat will kill them quicker than cold will, and you can mulch them the first year if it gets too cold. Good luck!

  • Orange RN Mar 22, 2013

    Djofraleigh said- Never seen it so cold here, this late

    If interested, this article discusses the unusual high pressure over Greenland, a ‘blocking high’ similar to the one that produced hurricane Sandy. These are becoming more frequent as the arctic warms - apparently cold air increases over lower latitudes. It seems that the jury is out right now if this particular event can be attributed to climate change.

  • Ex-Republican Mar 22, 2013

    " Is this global warming, too, or just an extreme weather cycle?"

    The Global Warming doomsayers will even blame cold weather on "Climate Change". What they don't understand is that while the Artic polar ice is melting, it's quite likely caused by other regional variants like ocean currents or geothermal activity, just like our local cold weather is caused by regional factors.

  • djofraleigh Mar 22, 2013

    The groundhog was wrong either's 7 more weeks of winter

  • djofraleigh Mar 22, 2013

    Never seen it so cold here, this late. Is this global warming, too, or just an extreme weather cycle? Come April 1st, we are going to buy our outside plants.