Oct 6, 2016
Hurricane Matthew disrupts North Carolina strawberry planting

I have been talking this morning with several very large producers in Eastern NC, and the decision they’ve made is to “hold up” on punching plant holes, and delay all planting until this weather system has passed!

Both Curtis Smith (Seven Springs) and Sam Harrell with Lewis Nursery and Farms (Rocky Point), agree the risk is too great to try to punch holes and plant before the end of this week.   In checking AccuWeather’s rain forecast for Rocky Point (near Wilmington) at the end of this week, they are calling for 5.1 inches, but as Sam said to me a minute ago, that 5 inches could turn into 10 inches, or more!

This is NOT something you want to do just prior to a hurricane!  Water entering those open holes (Fig 2) from heavy rains could lead to bed collapse.
This is NOT something you want to do just prior to a hurricane! Water entering those open holes from heavy rains could lead to bed collapse.

Sam Harrell told me they had planned to do some hole punching today, but decided against it now that Matthew could be making landfall in Eastern NC at the end of this week.  It would not be wise to punch holes today, or tomorrow, and then have this storm come in here and dump 10 inches of rain.  This could cause the beds to swell (mushroom) and then collapse!

Growers are well advised to “hold up” all operations (including hole punching ad planting), until this storm “Gets Outta Here.”

Barclay Poling, North Carolina State University

Source: North Carolina Cooperative Extension




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