In recent weeks, bitter cold fronts have blasted the Deep South, wreaking havoc on home water pipes and icing roads. But for Georgia crops, the weather isn’t so bad, at least for now.

Georgia’s famous peach crop, in fact, needs the cold weather right now, said Frank Funderburk, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Peach County, the hub of the state’s peach industry.

Peach trees need chill hours, or hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, to stay dormant during the winter months. This helps them bloom properly in the spring and produce fruit in the summer.

Individual varieties require a different number of chill hours, ranging from 650 total hours to 950 total hours, he said. Right now, central Georgia has close to 400 chill hours logged already due to the cold weather, around 100 hours more than this time last year, Funderburk said.

Growers like to get the chill hours their trees need by Feb. 15. As daytime temperatures warm, trees wake up and start to bloom. Any severe cold snaps in late winter or early spring burst buds, and that is bad, he said.