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Freeze Warning Could Get Growing Season Off To A Rough Start

2007 was a rough year for Kentucky farmers.

Freeze warning could make for a rough start to the 2008 growing season.

Local farmers and other fruit growers say they suffered a double whammy last year with the April freeze and then the summer drought.

Russell Sparks hopes hay can save his strawberries.

They just started sprouting in last week's warm weather, but they could die if their temperature dips below freezing.

“What we're trying to do is trap the heat from the soil underneath the straw and protect the cold air from getting in,” Russell Spark said.

He lost his entire strawberry and fruit crop last year during April's freeze.

He doesn't want the same thing to happen again.

“A whole lot of people's freezers are empty because they didn't have them to put up last year. So, we're really hoping we do have a fruit crop so we can replenish the supply,” Sparks said.

Apple trees are also a big concern.

“These are just barely starting to bud and show any color at all,” Sparks said.

He says they won't bud anymore if freezing temperatures hurt them.

He says there is not much they can do to keep them warm, because unlike strawberries, they can't cover the apple buds with hay or cloth.

Sparks says his peach and pear trees aren't budding yet, so they should be okay in the cold.

He believes he can salvage the rest of the fruit crop if temperatures don't go below 28 degrees.

He says two crops Kentucky is known for, corn and tobacco, are not planted yet, so this April freeze should not affect them.

Sparks says they're already planning on losing ten percent of fruit crops, but only time will tell after this week.


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