Lots of nervous peach growers. In Fredericksburg we are sitting right at 660 hours of winter chilling, 100-150 hours short of what we really need to break dormancy on many of the standard varieties. Some growers are opting to apply Dormex, a growth regulator that helps overcome insufficient chilling. The risk is that once it is applied, there will be nothing holding the buds back and advancement could mean increased risk of spring frost. Yes, farming is a gamble.
Yesterday, a number of growers brought in shoots of different varieties to check on bud development to help in knowing if/when/ and how much Dormex to apply. Here is an example of what we saw
Top photo is a bud still receiving chilling, middle bud is transitional and bottom bud is ready to open. With more than two weeks of February still to go, its going to be an interesting spring!