How to Prevent Frost Damage when Trees Have Fruit


Fruit trees are ideal additions to any garden or landscape, providing shade, beauty and a delicious harvest of everything from apples to plums to citrus. Unfortunately, late spring or early fall freezes can destroy the fruit on the trees, causing lots of damage. It is possible to protect your fruit trees from frost damage if you prepare ahead of time. The thing to remember is to keep as much heat as possible near the fruit trees, and to deter the roots from freezing.

Step 1

Set out large black trash bags and duct tape the edges together (it should be as large in diameter as the fruit tree). Create a second layer of the taped-together bags and lay the two sheets on top of one another, making sure the edges are even.

Step 2

Duct tape together all of the trash bag sides except for the bottom, overlapping the edges slightly to end up with a tent for each fruit tree. Set these aside for now.

Step 3

Water the area around the tree trunks and over the roots during the hottest part of the day before an expected freeze. Later that evening, the moisture from the water will rise up to insulate the fruit tree.

Step 4

Fill large plastic jugs with hot water, leaving about 1 inch between the jug's top and the water's surface. These will have the same effect as watering the tree, releasing heat throughout the night. Put these water jugs around the base of the fruit tree.

Step 5

Slide the plastic garbage bag tent down over the top of each fruit tree. Pull the plastic down securely around the entire tree, all the way down to the ground. Make sure the filled water jugs are inside of the plastic, by the tree.

Step 6

Place weights on the plastic edges to hold the plastic down completely around the tree and water jugs. Use logs and rocks. You want to make sure there are no gaps around the plastic edges.

Things You'll Need

  • Large black trash bags
  • Duct tape
  • Water
  • Plastic gallon water jugs or pitchers
  • Hot water
  • Large rocks, bricks, logs, weights, etc.


  • Los Angeles Daily News: Protecting Trees from Burns when it Freezes
  • Michigan State University Extension: Fruit Crop Frost Damage
  • New Mexico State University: How to Protect Fruit Trees from a Freeze
Keywords: protecting fruit trees, frost damage on fruit, prevent fruit tree frost damage

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.