Monday, January 27, 2020


Recently, I took advantage of a rare nice Winter weekend and got all the stuff together for any impending freeze that would affect the citrus trees.

This was a test run to make sure it all went together and worked like planned out.

The reason we planted the citrus behind the house was so it would be close to watering for the Summer and electricity in the Winter, so I did some planning and bought the following to make sure we were ready if/when a hard freeze comes:

12 steel stakes (got these at Home Depot)
Bungee Cords with Hooks (2 for each bed)
and finally,

(Links are from Amazon where we ordered them)

These are 6' tall plastic coated steel core garden stakes.  There are three beds to protect (lemon, orange and lime) so we needed a dozen (four per bed).  What would we do with these?  Well, we also needed some tennis balls...

Huh?  I cut an "X" into each one and shoved it onto the end of the stakes... each one looked like this.  Then I shoved them into the soil on each corner of the raised bed.  More on the reason for that in a moment...

Next I took the C9 outdoor Christmas bulbs (1 set will be for each tree) and wrapped it around the tree and plugged the end into the extension cord...

At the back of the house, I plugged the timer into the outlet on the house and since there are three places for plugs on the timer, each of the three extension cords can be plugged in.  Instead of a digital version we opted for mechanical so as not to worry about batteries failing if we're not around, etc.

Then the Ag Fabric freeze cloths were placed over the tree and bed...

And now THIS is why the stakes are there and have the tennis balls on top.  This keeps the fabric from touching the trees in a freeze and the tennis balls keep from poking holes through the fabric.  

Lastly, I stretched the fabric (bought large for future expansion of tree height) so that they were taught on all four corners and then used the bungee cords that we already had to stretch around the base of the bed and hold the fabric down and in place.

I flipped on the switch and it worked great.  Lights came on and all seems like it should work.  Now we won't know how it will work in the first actual freeze until it's put to the test but when we don't live there full time, we have to think outside the box for freezes and do the best we can.  Since there is a timer we can schedule them to come on and off through the night/day and the C9 lights will generate heat that should stay inside the ag fabric and keep the trees warmer than the outside air.  The fabric is breathable so it shouldn't get too hot inside but just in case, bulbs can be removed if we need to use less.

We guess we'll find out on the first freeze.  Of course, this Winter, knock on wood, we've only had the one (prior to us getting these) and we're coming up on February.  We'll see how it goes!


  1. This looks like a very effective system. This should protect your citrus very successfully and easily. And it looks very tidy, much tidier than mine. I keep a stake beside each tree, cover with AgFabric and blankets, and secure with concrete bricks. But I have to use the multiple layer of covering since I don’t have the lights. Where did you get them from? Also, could you please post a picture of the lights wrapped around the tree?

    Wasn’t it a nice weekend?! I had to remind myself that it’s late January and not Spring. It was sunny/partly-sunny, in the mid-60’s-70’s, and just perfect for working outside. I did some cleaning and prep for my spring garden. Did some pruning, weeding, etc. Found some more lettuce volunteers that I transplanted. Then cleaned out an adjoining flowerbed – and found some monarch caterpillars on the butterfly weed! My viburnum is blooming so sweetly, the bees are buzzing around it, and the birds are singing - garden heaven!

  2. Not being in the 'Citrus Zone' I went with Peach and Nectarine trees.

  3. I hope it works. Mine are doing fine so far.

  4. Would a C9 against the tree hurt the tree? That looks like it would hold up to frost.

  5. That should work very nicely in protecting your trees from frost and also protect the trees from them 4 legged critters but then again, you may have a snake or 2 coming in for the warmth.

    I would be very careful with them Christmas lights tho, as the C9 will get Hotter than the LED lights. Wouldn't want that straw to catch on fire. I was thinking maybe something like a C7. These older type of lights do draw more power so will also need to be careful on them blowing fuses.

    Now, if you want added protection, they have what is called Tree Wrap of which you just wrap it around the tree trunk for warmth or you could also go buy a roll of burlap (would be cheaper than Tree Wrap)and use it to wrap around the trunk for that added protection.

    I did want to mention that by watering your trees (before the cover-up)really well before a freeze will also protect against frost bit / freeze damage.

    Pouring down rain here this morning but not complaining as we could use a nice shower; saves us from having to water our newly planted trees; letting Mother Nature take care of that for us. One draw back; not able to do any staining or putting sealer on our projects due to the damp wet weather, but there will be better days when we can so do so.

    Have a great day & enjoy your evening.

  6. That seems like a lot of work to protect the trees. What would you do for a whole orchard?


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