Gardening Magazine

Ice, Ice, Oh, Boy!

By Thecitrusguy @SCCitrusguy
Happy Freekin New Year!
     Mother nature apparently is NOT in the holiday spirit!
Charleston is going to get Cold, which means folks to my west and north are going to be even colder!! The Citrus will not be happy.
     The past few days have been okay, lower 30's at night, so I was not worried. I looked at the next week or so and suddenly I was a little concerned. 28 is my "Take Action" forecasted low, I am looking down the barrel of 36-28-24-24-25-22-24-28. The highs will only peak into the upper 30's. The good news is, with the colder nights we have had, the citrus trees have had a chance to go into their semi-dormancy. The bad news is, that is too many nights in a row, NOT to take action. So I did just that this morning.
     I also figured I would throw some tips out there for folks that might also get a little concerned about their Citrus.
     The first thing you should do, while the temps are still decent is, Make Sure They Are Well Watered! A well-watered, hydrated plant can handle the cold much better than a dry one. This goes for in ground and container plants as well.
     If they are in the ground, you might still have time, get some frost cloth. Check the big box stores, hardware stores, etc. My friend Stan McKenzie, up around the Florence SC area, is getting his in-ground trees ready.
Ice, Ice, Oh, Boy!
I have NEVER said growing citrus is easy!
You can also put some Christmas lights, the ones that get hot, or a couple of 100 watt light bulbs in there to help keep in some heat.
     Now, those of us that grow them in containers have a few more options. I put what I could in my greenhouse, did they all fit, not a chance. My greenhouse stretcher is still in the developmental stage.
What did get put in there got watered to within an inch of its life, shoved together, and my little electric space heater is at the ready. As long as it keeps it at 32 or higher, I am happy. If you only have a couple of trees, I would suggest at least putting them in an unheated garage, storage shed or something along those lines to keep it a little warmer. If your tree is very small, and this can go for in-ground or container, flip a large trash can over it. The ground will help keep it a couple of degrees warmer.
     What did I do with the ones that would not fit in the greenhouse?
There are a few that I gave some encouraging words to and told them they will be fine, which they should be, most of them are pretty cold hardy, down into the 20's type. The rest of them got laid down on the ground, overlapping each other, and covered with a tarp, a blanket, and some frost cloth. It ain't pretty, but it will work.
Ice, Ice, Oh, Boy!
Again, I watered each one very well, tipped them over and covered.
Hopefully, this will be the worst we get all year and it will be here and done!
     I mentioned it in my book, How To Grow Citrus Practically Anywhere as well as above, I have never said growing citrus is easy, it all depends on how much work you are willing to put into it as to whether you can grow citrus practically anywhere!
     If you have any questions about this or any of my other articles, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com. You can also follow me on Facebook
Happy Growing!
Darren

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