Citrus trees grow best in the warmer climates of the United States. While they are not cold-hardy plants, they will survive a frost better than a freeze. Caution should be taken in winter months to prevent cold-weather damage to citrus trees.
Cold weather can damage and even kill citrus trees. Affected fruit can be used for juicing only. An indication that the tree is dying is if the fruit is seedy, rough or sour.
Recognize frost damage by examining the fruit of the citrus tree. Damaged fruit will appear water soaked on the inside. Within one to two weeks the citrus fruit rind will separate and the fruit will become puffy and soft, according to the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Take steps to prevent cold-weather citrus tree damage by covering the tree with blankets and sheets during frosts and freezes. This will help the tree retain heat.
Do not prune citrus trees after the threat of cold weather damage. Pruning prior to the winter season reduces the size of the citrus tree canopy. This limits the heat-retention capacity of the tree, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Consult with your local gardening expert prior to planting a citrus tree. Find the tree variety that has the greatest cold-weather tolerance for your area.
- University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- University of Florida IFAS Extension
- The United States National Arboretum
citrus tree, frost damage, fruit damage
About this Author
Claire Vindigni is a Florida-based writer. After starting her career in the world of journalism, she ventured into the courtroom as an attorney. Vindigni holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from Fordham University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami.