Southern Illinois peach crop triumphs over weather extremes

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ST. ELMO, Ill. (AP) _ It was an up-and-down-again winter and spring for southern Illinois peach growers. But despite iffy weather, the summer’s crop is strong.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports (http://bit.ly/2b5nSyi ) that the crop had to endure a frigid winter, excessively wet spring and some dry patches this summer.

Marion County grower Tom Schwartz says that up to four inches of rain within the past month or so helped the peaches plump up.

Wayne “Ren” Sirles is a grower in Union County. He says the wet spring created more problems with fungi _ which thrives on moisture and humidity. Fungicide sprays were used.

Finally, July heat was welcome to the crop.

Growers such as Schwartz and Sirles are now closely watching their apple orchards. Harvest begins by September.