How to winterize my lemon / lime trees

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by RaiseFire, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. RaiseFire

    RaiseFire Member

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    China Spring Tx USA
    I live in TX and I bought my lemon and lime trees at the beginning of this past spring.. So Ive never experienced a winter with them and need a little info on what i should do with them..
    Where I live it gets below 30 a for a few days out of the winter.. And every couple of winters we will get snow or it will ice over..
    I figure I should bring them in when it does get that cold out but will they be okay in 33+ weather.. Ive read about the christmas lights and the heat pad.. around what temp should I be using those..
    Any other info or tricks I would appreciate...
  2. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Pensacola, USA
    You are probably very similar to here. Normal winters are a few nights in the upper 20s, maybe 2 out of 10 we do not get a killing frost, but once every 10 to 20 years we get a freeze in the low 20s to upper teens. Last yr we got into the low 20s and I covered my inground trees with sheets, tarps, burlap, landscape fabric--anything I could get. I placed bags of composted cow manure around the base (similar to banking). I put as many 5 gal buckets of water as I could get under the trees (and under the cover--water gives off heat as it freezes). On my Lisbon lemon, I added 2 strings of Christmas lights. None of my trees had anything more than minor damage--like where a limb was touching a tarp.

    I have lemons, mandarins, oranges, tangelos, satsumas, kumquats inground. Key limes were brought inside.

    One major factor is whether the trees have had time to harden off to the cold--exposure to 40s and 50s for a month or so--without an exposure to 80s for a while. If trees have not had time to harden, a hard frost (mid 30s-actual air temp) can do serious damage.

    One other technique that I did not use is water spray. In case of hard freezes, a spray nozzle that delivers 8-10 gal/hr into the scaffold limbs will save the heart of the tree. The outer limbs will be lost, but the tree will be back in production in a yr. A seminar by Auburn Univ suggest this can save a tree in freezes as low as 12-15 degrees.

    Banking is an old technique for saving the trunk in case of hard freezes-- the trunk of the tree is covered with dirt at least a foot or so above the graft. Without the scaffold limbs it can take a couple years to return to full production, but it will save the tree.
  3. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lantzville, Vancouver Island
    If you're the slightest bit handy with wood power tools, you can create a poly or ploycarbonate covered framework which can be used during the winter months. To avoid overheating on warmer days, you'll have to vent or have a removable side panel. This will simpify things greatly if a cold snap does arrive and find yourself scrambling around for supplies.

    Cheers, Barrie (LPN)

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