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UC Master Gardeners, SLO County, a resource for gardeners
by Christie Withers
on March 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM
Hi Ann, Thank you for your article. I'm working the Templeton Helpline and I've had questions on what's good in the North County. It would be helpful to address North County issues in our articles so people are aware of the varieties that work best in our area and ways to mitigate the danger of frost. Just a suggestion.
Reply by Amy Breschini
on March 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Hi Christie,  
Citrus is very difficult to do in North County. Many people plant a dwarf tree in a half-wine barrel and place it on casters for easy moving. They keep it outside until there's hard frost and then move it into a garage with a window or some kind of protected patio. There are a few people who have them planted in the ground. They cover them every year with white lights so that there's a little bit more heat generated around the tree. There are also frost cover sheets and sprays such as "Cloud Cover" which protects it 4 - 6 degrees F. It's always crucial to have trees and plants irrigated properly during freezing temperatures.  
This is an exerpt from University of Florida:  
The duration of freezing temperatures can be  
more critical than the minimum temperature. For  
example, serious damage may not occur during a brief  
drop to -5°C (24°F), but could result after several  
hours at -3°C (26°F). Moreover, previous  
exposure to cold increases the plant's ability to  
withstand cold. As the days shorten and nights get  
cooler, plants slow active growth and attain  
cold-hardiness. Satsuma may withstand -9°C  
(15°F) in January when it is completely dormant  
and hardy, but it may be seriously damaged at -3°C  
(26°F) in mid-November.  
Varieties that are the most cold hardy are:  
Trifoliate Rootstock is the most cold hardy roostock.  
Read more about this here:  
Four Winds Growers lists the varieties of trees and the temperature at which they will need protection.  
Check out the list of varieties here:
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