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Strawberry farmers take precautions ahead of freezing temperatures

strawberry farm
Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 21:24:15-04

BETHPAGE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Another cold night is endangering strawberry plants across Middle Tennessee, and farmers are taking extra steps to protect their crops.

At Oak Grove Farms in Bethpage, Zach and Kyndle Erhard have covered their 13 acres of strawberry crops to protect the plants from the cold. Strawberries are the largest crop produced at the farm. After temperatures dropped below freezing Thursday night, they were pleased to see the damage was minimal.

"We thought it was going to be a lot worse, because of how cold it got last night," said Kyndle Erhard, owner of Oak Grove Farms. "This morning, we pulled the covers off and it looked great."

The Erhards say if temperatures dip below freezing, the blooms on the plants can be damaged. All of the 162,000 strawberry plants will remain covered through the weekend, and additional precautions are being taken, as well.

"Another thing we do is run drip irrigation under the beds and that keeps the beds 1 or 2 degrees warmer," said Zach Erhard, owner of Oak Grove Farms. "Sometimes that is all you need to save them."

The Erhards said they prepare for frost and freezing temperatures in the Spring, but the later in the season the freeze occurs, the more dangerous it can be.

"It is really scary when one night can ruin all those months of work we put into it," said Kyndle Erhard.

While the Erhards will continue to keep a close watch on the strawberries, they are hopeful the worst of the cold is behind them.

"You can’t let it stress you out that much," said Zach Erhard. "You have to be prepared and we try and do that the best we can."

Strawberry season normally starts end of April and last until mid-June. Oak Grove Farms sells strawberries at multiple locations, including in Gallatin. For updates on when the strawberries will be available, visit: https://www.oakgrovefarmstn.com/