Warm Winter Nights Worrying Georgia Peach Growers

CLEMSON — In the fields on the 240-acre Musser Fruit Research Farm, Jeff Hopkins pointed to confused trees in late December that displayed — on the same branches — leaves from last summer and new growth of recent weeks.

Near the entrance of the Clemson University facility, Hopkins marveled at the small patch of green, active Bermuda grass.

"At this time of year, that's supposed to be brown," Hopkins said about the grass, which is normally dormant in winter.

Another novelty, a few hillsides away, was a low-chill variety of peach trees (UF Gold) that are in springlike bloom. Because UF Gold is a Florida peach that isn't part of any Anderson-area growers' playbook, that premature bloom won't affect the 2016 peach crop.

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