Freezing temps worry Upstate peach farmers

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – While the Upstate may not get much snow, the chilly air is no friend to some plants already in bloom from a warmer winter.

“The key is just not to get impatient and jump the gun. Wait until the calendar says its spring, not the thermometer,” said landscape designer, Davis Sanders.

For those of you that say “that’s easier said than done” and you’ve already got plants in the ground, Sanders says it’s “ok.”

“Most plants that are available this time of year are going to be hardy plants that can take a freeze,” said Davis.

However, for certain early bloomers, sanders and the team at South Pleasantburg Nursery said they can be saved from frost bite this week.

“Just putting a lightweight frost blanket over any tender plants would be the best thing to do for them,” Sanders explained.

He said avoid plastic and take it off when it warms up.

“They are actually going to rebound from this nicely in probably close to 100 percent of the cases,” said Sanders.

While your personal plants may not be affected by this week’s cooler weather, there are those across the Upstate that are worried about it, including peach farmers who are wondering if these freezing temperatures are going to ruin their crop.

“All these blooms, they are gone. They are gone,” said farmer, Dick Perdeaux.

At 86 years old, Perdeaux’s Fruit Farm in Tigerville is a labor of love and the weather isn’t always kind.

“You can’t control Mother Nature. You have to plan around her. Know that she’s going to nail you good, you know, every so often and this is one of those years,” he said.

If the weather forecast stays like it is, he expects to lose a lot of his peaches come spring.

“It’s tough on farmers. It’s tough. That’s why diversity is super critical,” he explained.

Perdeaux said he’s relying on his other crops like apples and pears to pull him through, and adding a little prayer that Mother Nature decides to cut him a break this week.

South Carolina is the second largest producer of peaches behind California. Peach season begins mid-April through August.

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