Posts Tagged: freeze
Homeowners should check for plants that are likely to be exposed to cold temperatures, said Judy McClure, UC Cooperative Extension master gardener coordinator.
“The lower spots in the garden tend to get colder than higher spots,” she said. “The bottom of the slope will be colder.”
McClure advises having a good supply of covers. She recommends against throwing a plastic tarp over trees, unless there is a frame to keep the plastic from direct contact with the tree. Contact with the plastic could cause damage by burning the foliage, she explained.
If the soil is dry, McClure said, it is best to water trees and succulents before covering them with blankets or frost cloths. When covering citrus trees, make sure the cover reaches the ground, she said.
The Fresno Bee reported that private meteorologist Steve Johnson has been tracking the approaching weather system since Nov. 25.
"The trajectory keeps it over land and it dries out," Johnson said. "This kind of thing doesn't happen very often. The pattern is very similar to what we saw in December 1998 and 1990."
For more on freeze protection from UC Cooperative Extension, review the following links:
- Citrus freeze protection (home)
- Methods of frost protection (orchards)
- Protecting avocados from frost
It has been particularly cold at night in California for about a week, but it appears the state's citrus industry will emerge mostly unscathed, reported Oliver Renick on Bloomberg.com.
Thermometers dipped about 10 degrees below normal overnight during the cold snap, but growers efforts to keep the trees warm with wind machines and irrigation appear to have been successful.
"We are not anticipating any damage in the navels, maybe very limited damage on the outer row away from the wind protection,” said Shirley Batchman, the director of government affairs at California Citrus Mutual. “Certainly nothing that’s going to affect the orange production.”
From Dec. 3-10, temperatures dropped as low as 31 degrees in Fresno, 26 degrees in Madera, 27 degrees in Merced, 26 degrees in Napa, 25 in Redding and 27 in Redbluff. Growers in these areas were working to avoid damages like those suffered in 2007, when a freeze caused more than $1.4 billion in damage to citrus, avocados, strawberries, vegetables, nursery stock and other crops, the article said.
In northern areas, freezes blackened the tips of some young walnut tree branches, but those are generally pruned off anyway, said Rick Buchner, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Red Bluff, Calif.
"There's been no serious damage in the big wood that I've been called to look at yet," Buchner said.
Newspapers up and down the state are covering the cold storm system approaching California. In addition to reporting the weather, Sacramento Bee reporter Loretta Kalb took the time yesterday to check on the impact of the storm on California citrus.
Even though it was Sunday afternoon, UC Cooperative Extension Butte County farm advisor Joe Connell contacted Kalb to tell her citrus crops should emerge with little or no damage from the week's storm.
"As far as citrus goes, for the naval orange, it takes about 3.5 hours at 26 degrees for the first orange to freeze," Connell was quoted in the story. "The orange juice itself has high sugar. It's like an antifreeze in the fruit. If it's colder, down to 25 degrees, after about an hour you'll get 5 percent of the fruit frozen."
At 27 degrees to 28 degrees, the low temperature forecast for most parts of the Valley, "I think most of the (citrus) fruit will be fine," Connell told Kalb.
The Redding Record Searchlight ran a story advising homeowners to protect their freeze-sensitive plants in the face of the winter storm. Citrus trees may be protected by a sheet or blanket, or as retired UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Fresno County Mark Freeman typically suggested this time of year: Wrap the tree in good, old-fashioned Christmas lights. They'll keep the tree warm and look festive at the same time.
More information from UC Cooperative Extension about citrus freeze protection and damage is available in a citrus freeze media kit.
A citrus tree damaged during a freeze.
The San Joaquin Valley is bracing for a hard freeze predicted to strike tonight and tomorrow morning, putting the Valley's $1.3 billion citrus industry on high alert. Whether farmers will have to spring into action depends on a lot of things, such as cloud cover, according to Joel Nelson of California Citrus Mutual, who was quoted in today's San Francisco Chronicle.
"But we will have the wind machines primed and many of them on from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.," Nelson is quoted.
The Bakersfield Californian turned to UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor John Karlik for advice for homeowners worried about potential freeze damage to landscape plants. He said residents within the city limits can rest fairly easy this week, but those who live in the slightly colder, outlying areas may need to take added precautions.
According to the article, he suggested homeowners bring tropical and sub-tropical plants inside, if possible, and cover outdoor plants overnight using plastic, cloth or newspapers. Watering the plants during the day will help preserve heat at night.
For more details on protecting your garden from frost, see this article by Pam Geisel, the academic coordinator for the UC Master Gardener program.
A note about the headline: The Valley, of course, is rarely as cold as New York, where Frank Loesser wrote the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in 1944, but the music still rings in the ears of Californians when an artic air mass descends on the state. A cute version of the song by Doris Day and Bing Crosby is one of many posted on YouTube.
A citrus tree that was coated with water for frost protection.