[NAFEX] Damage

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Mon Apr 9 09:40:19 EDT 2007

The problem throughout the eastern US  is that we had the severe record breaking freeze following weeks of recordbreaking high temps.  We had lightning bugs going for 2 weeks, think about what time of year that should be.  The following have lost their crops for this year:
all stone fruits, including wild cherries
oaks (except for black oaks that bloomed last year, but now won't crop next year)
probably dogwoods
grapes, tame and wild
most hickories
black walnuts
probably sour gums

The only trees I have seen that may go ahead and crop now are a few of the pignuts that hadn't budded out.  It looks like neither humans, birds, nor mammals are going to eat well this summer and fall.  Humans can import food from other countries, wildlife cannot.  The birds are going to suffer when they need dogwood and sourgum berries for calories when they migrate in the fall.  Deer, turkeys, and squirrels (not to mention chipmunks and other small varmints) need them to get through the winter.  I assume the quota for the fall deer hunt will be high this winter, as they will need severe thinning, but they will be very skinny deer by Thanksgiving when the season opens.  
    Now that Easter Sunday is over and the browning is more visible, we'll start hearing actual assessments of the damage in percentages of crops lost and in dollars.  Already there is talk of the wheat crop being damaged, and Lucky says that corn was 6" high in his area.  (He's further north, but lower in elevation than we are)  I had covered my strawberries, they should be fine, and the blackberries and black raspberries are fine.  We had some peices of plastic from a commercial greenhouse and covered my 10 large rabbiteyes, which were mostly done blooming.   I am hoping that some few will turn out ok, but between the wind and the 19 degrees, it may be so few that we'll just let the birds have them.  As for Hector's acre or so of humongous and extremely productive rabbiteye bushes, I was hoping that he at least would keep Putnam county in some kind of fruit this year.  When the frosty winds blow, his always come through, but this was much worse than usual.  11 degrees sounds like way too cold for the crop to have survived.  
    As for Jim Fruth's comments, Jim, we too have wise plants with long chilling hour requirements.  Alas, between January where we could sit around in short sleeves and shorts outside in the evenings, and March where we were sweating in the heat, this was an ambush.  As for Richard Moyer's comments about welcoming this as a test to remove the pantywaist plants that can't make it in Tennessee, does he plan to remove everything except cedars, pines, and blackberries?  Sorry Richard, but this was not your normal late spring freeze.  This was a disaster for all life for the entire southeastern US.  I've been thinking about it.  Hailstorns only devastate small areas.  Even hurricanes only cut a swath a mile or so wide.  Earthquakes tend not to disrupt plants all that much.  And alas, if the 22 year drought cycle holds, the bad weather is only beginning...       Donna 
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