Texas Hill Country News

Peach Problems in the Texas Hill Country for 2017 Season

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If you’re looking forward to peach-picking season in the Texas Hill Country, prepare to be disappointed. With peaches requiring a certain number of chill hours in the winter season for dormant buds on peach orchard trees to be able to flower and develop delicious fruit, the Hill Country producers are identifying an issue, resulting in a less than stellar crop this year. North Texas, however, has managed to accumulate the required amount and come out on top for production.

Peach Problems in the Texas Hill Country for 2017 Season

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

With a shortage of chill hours in the Texas Hill Country hitting the growers hard, there may be product enough for late May and June, with some growers identifying production of less than five percent, howe, er pick-your-own for the summer months has been jeopardized and may not be possible. In an interview with Dallas Morning News, Jamie Vogel, of the Vogel Orchard family in Stonewall and president of the Hill Country Fruit Council, identified, “We definitely have a lighter crop this year due primarily to lack of cold. For May and early June, those varieties look OK. Late June and July [varieties] look weak. …We’re encouraging people to come earlier than normal this year. …The peak is now to early- to mid-June.”

Peach Problems in the Texas Hill Country for 2017 Season

Photo: Wikimedia

Since the majority of peach buds didn’t get the cold weather blasts this past winter which are required to break out of dormancy, what has bloomed into fruit has tended to be the earlier varietals and types that are bred to be “low chill.” Those varieties which tend to be ready for picking and consumption into the summer months appear to have been hardest hit by this issue. Vogel further identified to Texas Public Radio that he was going to be cautiously optimistic in thinking growers could still have a 50% yield, which would satisfy much of the retail demand,