UACES Facebook Strawberry growers need to keep a close eye on temperatures this weekend
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Strawberry growers need to keep a close eye on temperatures this weekend

Forecast temperatures may drop into the 30s in parts of Arkansas this weekend.

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

April 19, 2023

Fast facts

  • Temps may drop into the mid-30s in NW Arkansas
  • Arkansas growers had early start to the season

(353 words)

(Newsrooms: With file art of strawberries on farm)

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’s strawberry growers may be reaching for the plant covers this weekend as an approaching cold front threatens to drop overnight temperatures into the 30s on Friday and Saturday in northern Arkansas.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which provides forecasts for northwest Arkansas, was forecasting lows of 39 on Friday night and 35 on Saturday night. For central Arkansas, the National Weather Service at Little Rock was looking at lows dipping into the 40s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Strawberry season has been a mixed bag so far, said Amanda McWhirt, extension horticulture production specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Crop covers
COVER UP! — Crop covers like those seen here can help protect horticulture crops such as strawberries, blackberries and blueberries during cold weather. (Division of Agriculture photo.)

“It started off looking really great — warming up really quickly early, and things started flowering very early,” she said. “It kind of made growers a little nervous because it was a lot earlier than normal — but that’s also exciting because you can start picking earlier and it helps on the economic side of things.”

In central Arkansas, some farms have been picking strawberries for three weeks, McWhirt said, adding “Normally we’d only be kicking things off.”

However, freezing temperatures returned in March.

“A lot of growers in the central and southern parts of the state were able to protect with row covers, but a lot of growers in the northwest corner, they had row covers on, but it just got so much cooler there that they actually lost a lot of the blooms that were open and even some of the small, green fruit,” she said.

McWhirt said that strawberries will keep blooming, so even though early fruit was lost, farmers were still able to get fruit later.

“The last couple of weeks have been perfect,” she said. “It’s been very dry, and the season has been going really well.”

However, “there is a little bit of concern about the cold temperatures moving in late this week, but hopefully, it will not dip down into the low 30s in northwest Arkansas,” McWhirt said.

Definitely been “ups and downs this season,” she said.

McWhirt estimates there are 200 to 300 acres of strawberries being grown in Arkansas.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. The Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media contact: Mary Hightower