Weekend frost advisories a threat to valley growers, farmers; impact may be small thanks to recent cooler weather
SACRAMENTO -- A frost advisory Friday night through Sunday morning has Valley farmers and growers keeping a close eye on both crops and plants.
As it's peak growing season, frost can be detrimental.
At Green Acres Nursey, Greg Gayton puts his more than 40 years of "green thumb" wisdom on full display.
"So at night we will cover these puppies up," Gayton said, pulling a frost cover over the nursey's citrus plants.
"The things you want to watch for is any summer vegetables you might have put out and anything pushing a lot of new growth," said Gayton. Those more tender plants will need to be covered when frost is a concern.
California's recent cooler, rainy weather is actually helping. Most plants right now are slow to bud, but that means a weekend frost won't be as destructive.
"We haven't had a lot of sunlight so that hasn't pushed a lot of new growth and we haven't had a lot of warm days so plants will be able to adjust to this a lot better," said Gayton.
It's good news for the nurseryman and farmer alike.
Tom slater runs Slater Farms, a vineyard in Clarksburg.
"It's common that we do worry this time of year, every year," said Slater.
When it comes to frost, there is not much the farmer can do to prepare, only wait. He says an early April frost last year was damaging. This weekend, his fingers are crossed.
"We hope that frost doesn't come back, two years in a row is a really tough thing to recover from with all the fruit loss last year. But farmers are pretty resilient," said Slater.
Resilience, as frost isn't the only fear. A rain-soaked California has farmers worried less about the icy menace, but the rain -- over-saturating soils, storm after storm.
"The high river levels, the seepage from the levees, it's been one flood event after another in terms of managing all this water," said Slater, hopeful for his spring vines.
Rain of course is a good thing, but not too much.
"We are thankful for the rain but boy, we sure want that sun and warm weather," said Gayton.
Timing is key. Plants and crops that have become more tolerant to the cooler weather now need to bud soon.
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