Ice cold crops reaping benefits - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Ice cold crops reaping benefits

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - With a harsh freeze on the way, some are wondering how East Texas crops will be affected. Not to worry, local farmers and winemakers say a wintry blast could actually help them.

In the chill of winter, East Texas crops are sleeping.

"Our crops, like peaches and apricots and even the grape vines, is in a dormant stage," explained winemaker Pierre de Wet of Kiepersol Estates. "They need a certain amount of chill hours a year."

In fact, De Wet showed us just how healthy his vines are.

"Pruning season will come in but this wood is nice and hard and green and very protected," he said. "We just don't want to get cold weather when these are starting to push."

Peach farmers also say as long as trees are healthy they are not expecting any damage from the freeze. But, if it were spring-time, wicked weather like this could easily wipe them out.

"We need prayers in April that it don't freeze in April," he said. "When these plants are waking up that's when they really get hurt when you get just a little cold weather."

De Wet says your main concern now should be for your pets and cattle who are going to need some type of shelter.

"Our bigger concern for these cold nights are our little calves, baby calves," he said. "[We] try to create wind breaks with rows or bales of hay where they're just protected out of the wind."

And as far as East Texas crops go, there was more good news. Farmers say the wintry blast could kill-off harmful insects.

"Maybe this cold weather will give us an opportunity to get rid of some of the disease, some of the fungus some of the stuff in the warm years [that] start building up," De Wet said.

De Wet says crops that are out-of-zone. Like any tropical trees or plants you may have. Will definitely need to be covered or brought inside if possible.

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