Watching Georgia peaches

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FORT VALLEY, Ga. (AP) -- Peach trees are starting to blossom in middle Georgia and growers are keeping an eye on the weather, waiting for the danger of a freeze to pass.

Peach growers are hoping to rebound from last year's devastating freeze on Easter, which fell on April 8th. Chill hours this winter have been sufficient and rainfall has been good.

Growers in Peach County sustained about an 80 percent loss last year from the hard freeze on Easter weekend. Peach County extension agent Frank Funderburk says the loss for all middle Georgia growers
was about 60 percent. Losses statewide were about 70 percent.

Bill McGehee manages Pearson Farms in Fort Valley. He says the weather the next few weeks will be critical. Full bloom typically comes in mid-March.

Blooms can survive some freezing, depending on how low the temperature drops and the length of time it stays there. Generally, the danger to the peach crop is gone after Easter, but that won't hold true this year since Easter falls much earlier, on March 23rd.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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