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Peach blossoms in precarious situation every spring

A hard freeze like we had last March could cause a lot of damage to the blooms.

MUSELLA, Ga. — Right now, you may see lots of bright pink flowers as you drive along I-75 in Peach county.

Those aren't cherry blossoms - they're peach trees!

Lee Dickey runs Dickey farms.

"A hard freeze is the biggest risk we face every year and certainly this year it's been warm trees are moving even past the bloom stage those peaches are susceptible," he said.

We checked in with meteorologist Alex Forbes and asked him to look back at history, and on March 13 of 2022, we went down to 22 degrees.

"We hope to harvest six or seven million pounds of fruit a year so that's a couple million pounds of fruit that's missing," Lee calculated.

Dickey says a third of his crop vanished last spring.

Each delicate flower is a potential peach, and early varieties like 'gold prince' are most in danger.

"What usually happens is you have one or two alive here and none here and none here," he said, pointing to three branches laden with flowers.

Lee says it's all a numbers game they need a lot of fruit to squeak by. However, they do have a little wiggle room.

They've already pruned once, and if we don't get a freeze they will prune a lot more.

"There's about 20 blooms on this small branch and you would only leave two peaches here," Lee said.

That's so the tree concentrates its energy on making big juicy orbs of summertime staples.

Dickey says winter has already been a bit frustrating.

"We've had great chill hours the past four years. We haven't had quite what we wanted this year, but there has been rainy cloudy weather which helps because when you have a bright sunshiny day that bud is really getting heated up by the sun," Lee explained.

Maybe not the peachiest of situations, but if we get an early spring, the summer looks pretty tasty.

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