Georgia’s unusually cold winter means two of Georgia’s most famously sweet crops are at risk later this winter or early spring.

Peaches and blueberries require a certain amount of cold weather counted in chill hours, or hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. They need this cold period to bloom and set fruit properly in spring. In most years, this cold period protects the plants from blooming too early. If plants bloom early, it is more likely that the blossoms or fruit will be killed by a late-winter or early spring freeze.

Most peaches and blueberries grown in Georgia need between 400 and 700 chill hours to break dormancy and bloom. All of Georgia has experienced at least 750 chill hours since Nov. 1, 2010. Most locations have received more than 1,000 chill hours. Between Nov. 1 and Feb. 10, Brunswick has received 751 chill hours, Cairo 997, Homerville 1,064, Statesboro 1,190, Fort Valley 1,283, Byron 1,313, Griffin 1,412, Danielsville 1,576 and Calhoun 1,746.