Farmers protect crops against cold temps - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Farmers protect crops against cold temps

Isom's Orchard in Limestone County is preparing for the worst when it comes to cold temps. Isom's Orchard in Limestone County is preparing for the worst when it comes to cold temps.

A spring cold snap has some Tennessee Valley farmers preparing for the worst, trying to protect their crops. Just how much damage could be done depends on how cold it gets and what types of crops have been planted.

Wes Isom, owner of Isom's Orchard, said that if temperatures get below 30 degrees for any length of time, they will use an overhead irrigation system to water their peach trees. According to Isom, the energy it takes to freeze water actually would keep the blooms warm enough to possibly ward off frost from setting in.

"If it doesn't get under 30 degrees for very long, we'll probably get by okay. The scenario that would be the worst would be to have a heavy frost tonight, and say the temperature drops down 29 or 28 or colder, which it possibly could do in some of our lower elevations," said Isom.

Part of the problem for Isom is the nicer, warm days that have allowed the peach trees to start budding more. The farther along the plants are, the more susceptible they are to being destroyed.

Edward Smith and Jerry Hammonds who own E and J Farms in Lacey's Spring said they have their strawberry crop covered to protect against frost. What they're more concerned about is their tomato crop. Tomatoes can't take too much cold, and some of the plants have grown enough to make them more easily destroyed.

"We've got 3,000 tomato plants that are set out there at this farm and the other. We got 1,700 set out here. The 1,700 we got set out here, they're covered and we've actually had to hoop them so the covers can't touch the tomato plants. And we're not sure any of them are going to survive here tonight. Tomatoes are a warm weather plant, and they can't take 20 degree temperatures," said Edward Smith.

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