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How to Save Fruit Trees From a Spring Freeze

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How to Save Fruit Trees From a Spring Freeze

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Overview

Many fruit trees require a period of cold, winter temperatures to produce fruit the following summer, but if unseasonably cold temperatures happen in the spring, blossoms or small fruit can be damaged beyond salvation. Citrus trees are especially susceptible because many types, such as oranges, will have fruit that is nearly ready to harvest. Other trees, such as apples, might be in bloom, or about to bloom, when a cold snap blows through. Here are several methods you can use to protect your tender fruit trees.

Protecting Fruit Trees From Freezing

Step 1

String Christmas tree lights over and around your tree. The warmth from the bulbs will protect the tree from freezing temperatures.

Step 2

Use a form of passive solar energy to protect your tree by filling plastic gallon jugs with water and setting them around the tree on all sides. The water will heat up during the day and retain enough warmth at night to raise the temperature around your tree.

Step 3

Water the soil around your tree during the daytime to capture heat, which will be released at night.

Step 4

Build a frost frame using 2-by-2 boards and heavy, clear plastic or blankets. Be sure the plastic does not touch the fruit on your tree.

Step 5

Spray your tree with a fine mist of water the night you expect freezing temperatures. The water might freeze, but it will protect the leaves and fruit if you keep the sprinkler running.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you use Christmas lights, do not spray your tree with water because you could receive an electric shock.

Things You'll Need

  • Christmas tree lights
  • Gallon jugs full of water
  • 2-by-2 boards
  • Clear plastic sheeting
  • Blanket(s)
  • Hose with sprinkler attachment

References

  • Michigan State University Extension
  • New Mexico State University
Keywords: fruit trees, frost protection, gardening edibles

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.