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on the range

Peach Forecast

The outlook is delicious

By Anna Toon, 5:20PM, Thu. Mar. 7, 2013

Peach Forecast
Photo by Robert Burns (Courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

With warm weather approaching it is difficult to avoid daydreaming about the long days ahead: backyard bbqs, good friends, seasonal brews, and of course, peach cobbler. While severe drought conditions persist throughout Central Texas with the rest of the state experiencing similar effects, as far as peaches are concerned, it’s all good news for now.

Predominantly grown in Fredericksburg and surrounding areas, the recent bout of cold weather has been good for Hill Country peach prospects. According to Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Uvalde who works mainly with pecans, fruits, grapes and vegetable crops, cold weather is essential to the proper development of fruit trees and many fruit crops. These “chilling hours” are determined by the number of hours in a season when temperatures fall below 45 degrees. With an estimated 750 chill hours in the Hill Country, Texas fruit crops are in pretty good shape. However, while the cool days and cooler nights have slowed down an early bloom, the threat of a late freeze remains. “Right now, we’re okay, but we could get everything out and then have a freeze in April. You never know,” Stein said.

With the heightened anticipation at the turning of the seasons, I can’t help but long for a ripe, Fredericksburg peach. Lucky for us, they’re on the way.

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