Wakulla Gardens and Agriculture Survived Hard Freeze
Damage to agriculture in Leon and Wakulla Counties was limited during the January 3-4, 2012 hard freeze.
On the bright side there was no loss of livestock (cattle, horses, or poultry flocks). Warm season forages have long been gone, and cool season grasses have already been limited by the spotty rains. Some of the ryegrass was a little wilted, but looked like it would recover shortly. Clover and vetch handled the freeze with little-to-no negative effect.
Nursery stock at the area’s wholesale, retail and production nursery’s faired well also. Dormant trees and woody ornamentals had already been hardened by previous cold snaps, but a few were budding from recent weather in the 70’s. Unless protected, those buds were burned back. Vegetable sets and herbaceous ornamentals are all in green houses or cold frames. Losses to growers will come in the form of higher fuel bills for heating the green houses.
Local blueberries are still dormantand and cold hardy varieties of citrus in this area are grown mostly as an understory crop. Only minor damage has been reported so far. The cold in many cases helped sweeten the citrus
Specialty crop producers had some exposure. Cabbage and collard did well, but broccoli is showing wilted leaves. The more delicate greens (lettuces, Swiss Chard, etc) and a few snow peas took a heavy damage, especially if left unprotected. Losses will be in excess of 50 percent in some cases. The next few days will reveal the full extent of the damage.