Overnight freeze likely to damage blueberry crops

Overnight freeze likely to damage blueberry crops

BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - Pender County officials say Friday’s low temperature could be disastrous to the area’s blueberry crops.

A press release from the Pender County Agricultural Extension Office says the warmer than average temperatures in January and February “tricked” many plants into blooming early.

“Tonight’s temperatures combined with continuing winds and tomorrow night’s low temperatures with no wind, will certainly cause freeze injury and blueberry crop loss across North Carolina and likely down to Georgia and north Florida. The amount of damage to these early maturing varieties could be high,” said extension director Mark Seitz. "“Thankfully varieties that mature later in the spring for late May June harvest are not in full bloom so the freeze injury and subsequent crop loss may not be as severe.”

Experts say the total crop loss will not be known until harvest is complete.

North Carolina produces the sixth most blueberries in the nation, contributing 7.9 percent of the total national production, the USDA says.

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