- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
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.