Citrus and Freezes; Plus Citrus and Frost

We need to consider citrus and freezes or citrus and frost when we talk cold weather citrus tree care. When temperatures hover around the mid 30-40 degree Fahrenheit, citrus tree care should be a top priority.

  • Citrus and frost happen at air temperatures of around 36 degrees
  • Citrus and freezes happen at temperatures of 32 degrees

When the cold season is among us, we want to be ready for frost and freezing. Have frost covers and blankets ready just in case, and be sure to keep an eye on the weather. NPK Feeding is complete for the year as we do not want to encourage any new growth as it is the most sensitive to cold. Watering will be your primary focus as you want to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

Citrus during frost or freeze, warnings

  • Plants can be covered with a winter frost blanket, found at your local garden center, or regular blankets to protect citrus from cold weather.
  • Soil can be banked up to bottom limbs before winter in December and removed on March 1st.
  • You should bring plants in containers indoors. A good tip for is to use casters under your tree so you can move it rather easily.

Citrus affected by a freeze

  • You can expect some leaf drop. Leaf drop should be temporary.
  • Never prune trees until new growth starts back in late spring (April). At that time, all cuts should be made at least 1/2″ below damaged wood.

If a grafted plant

  • You can remove any sprouts below the graft. They are rootstock sprouts. Severely cut back plants will produce following the next bloom cycle.

Plants on their own root; not grafted

  • Even if plants are frozen back to soil level, any growth will be the same variety and produce after the next bloom cycle.

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