Tuesday, January 2, 2018

PROTECTING CITRUS TREES FROM FREEZING TEMPS

As this posts, it is currently 27 degrees.  Windchill was in the teens overnight.  As you probably read on Sunday's post, I spent Saturday getting the farm ready for this weather.  The house was pretty simple, shut off the water, drain the pipes and leave the taps open.  It's worked the last few years.  

This year however, we have our new citrus yard planted.  One thing for sure, citrus and freezing temps don't mix.  We had to come up with a solution, albeit a solution with an as yet unknown outcome.  There isn't much we could do except to cover them.  Covering and uncovering is easy when you are there to do it every day but not for a week at a time.  And as wonderful as 2nd Family is, it's too much to ask them to do it for us daily.  

Agfabric Plant Protecting bag
I bought these items. Three of these plant protecting bags and some bungee cords.  

After much research, we opted for these bags.  The bags come in different sizes and different thicknesses for colder temps and they keep the air inside the bag warmer by up to 8 degrees.  How warm remains to be seen but a citrus can survive maybe 29 or 30 but not 21 or 22.  So we'll have to see how it worked.

Here is link (affiliate) to the various brands:  AGFABRIC PLANT BAG

We chose the size that worked best for the trees and their round planters. Since they can be used season after season, we can also allow for some tree growth.

Here is the link (affiliate) to the bungee cords:

Our galvanized ring beds are 48" diameter and so we figured two each would stretch enough for the circumference of one.  

48" bungee cords
This is how we fit them on.  They stretched just enough to be able to be easily handled, but tight enough to hold the covers down.

Prepping the citrus trees for the freeze
Once we got everything together, it was time.  I added mulch, watered them well, put the bag over the tree and then put the bungees around that to hold it all down.

Citrus tree covered for a freeze
Here is the final result.  Nice and tight and (hopefully) protected from the harshest freezing temperatures.

Citrus trees covered with Agfabric covers 
All three are covered and ready.  Not much else we can do except this and hope for the best.  The good thing about these bags is that they are able to be left on "all season" according to the manufacturer.  I guess in a harsh Winter climate that might be the only option but we are going to remove them on the weekend.  If a freeze is in the forecast for the following week we'd leave them on but otherwise they'll be off most of the time this Winter.  We just need to stay on top of the weather forecast from week to week. 

Speaking of time, time will tell (this coming weekend) if the trees survived.  If they did, it will have been a wonderful solution that we'll always have around.  If they didn't, well, epic fail and we'll be buying new trees in the Spring.  

We'll soon find out...

Stay warm!

7 comments:

Colleen said...

Hopefully your trees will do well being 'undercover'. :}
Them fabric covers should really help out a lot

Practical Parsimony said...

The things covered for protection from the cold must not touch the cover. Otherwise, the plant freezes where it touches the cover. It might not get so cold that the tree tips freeze through the cover. I guess it depends on how cold it gets. Just be aware.

Elephant's Child said...

Good luck.
I am surprised they can be left on for the season. I would have expected that even in the cold, light was needed.

MargaretP said...

You could put 3 tall stakes in around the edge of the container to support the fabric away from the trees.

Good luck.

Kim said...

If you have electric to the area, old incandescent christmas lights help. Not LED. And keep them away from touching the cover. They provide a small warmth close to the trees that the covers will help keep near the trees

Texas Rose said...

Hoping your citrus survives with this product. The bungee cords at the base were a smart idea - quick to put on and take off. I put the same thing on my key limes for the first time; I also added 2 layers of blankets over that since key limes are so cold sensitive. I thought about putting a heat lamp under the cover, but was afraid it might catch on fire. Waiting with fingers crossed to see if they survive.

donna baker said...

You'll know if all the leaves have fallen off. I hate winter.