10:55am

Mon April 14, 2014
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Tennessee's Fruit Crop Threatened by Frost

Credit bateyfarms.com

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  -- Tennessee’s fruit growers are deeply worried about Tuesday night’s forecast.

With many mid-state fruit trees and plants in bloom, or with vulnerable small fruit on already, temperatures in the 20s could be devastating to the summer 2014 crop.

Brandon Whitt manages Batey Farms in the Blackman community here in Rutherford County. The 8th generation family farm has 4 acres in strawberries this year.  Whit says a lot of his plants already have tiny berries on.

“Right now with the production that they’re in we could lose up to 80 percent of the crop right now if we can’t somehow divert frost and freeze from settling on those plants.”

Whitt says strong winds are expected and that could keep the frost from settling. As a last resort he may also decide to spray water on the plants and coat them with ice.

Surprisingly, frost is more damaging to the blooms than a coat of ice.

Batey farms has a Facebook page if you want to keep up with how his berries fare.