Fruit trees are a wonderful part of anyone’s garden. After all, they not only provide shade but also let you have fresh and healthy food to eat with your family. However, they do require a good amount of care, especially when a frost is about to arrive. So, how is protecting fruit trees from frost conducted?
Frost can be damaging when fruit trees are currently undergoing processes that make them sensitive to sudden cold weather. In particular, they are highly sensitive to frost when their blossoms are opening and when their petals have begun shedding. During these processes, a temperature of around 28 degrees Fahrenheit would destroy approximately 10 percent of blossoms.
While this might sound bad, this 10 percent loss can actually be beneficial since fruit trees often produce more fruits than they can handle. What is problematic is when a frost leads to a reduction in temperature. For example, a temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit already has the capability to destroy 90 percent of blossoms. Thus, a frost can seriously affect your annual crop harvest.
In addition, frost does not only occur during winter. Even the spring season can have frost during its late stage. Regardless of the season, a frost can easily affect the leaves, flowers, and fruits. In other words, it’s important to know how to protect your fruit trees from a winter frost and a late spring frost.
Protecting from Winter Frost
Before the first winter frost arrives, you have to irrigate your fruit trees regularly. Even if the trees undergo a dormant stage during this season, they still need to be watered for two reasons. First, the fruit trees need enough moisture for the root system to keep growing. Second, the leaves also need moisture as cold, dry winds arrive.
Another solution is to use light-colored tree guards to cover the trunks. This is important because the winter sun can heat up the surface of dark-colored fruit trees. When the surface of the fruit trees gets a temperature higher than the air temperature, the cells located below the bark are stimulated.
However, this is bad because the temperature will dip again as the winter sun goes away – leading to the death of these active cells. This problem is known as sun scald, and it can be prevented if you wrap the trunks of your fruit trees with the aforementioned light-colored tree guards. These guards will reflect the light coming from the winter sun and let your winter trees stay in a dormant stage.
Furthermore, you must conduct mulching around the drip line of your fruit trees. Ensure that the mulch has a depth ranging from two inches to four inches. Thanks to mulching, the amount of moisture lost from the soil is reduced. Likewise, it will lightly insulate your fruit trees so that any sudden changes in temperature won’t have drastic effects on them.
Protecting from Late Spring Frost
Similar to how you deal with winter frost, you must also cover your fruit trees in spring to guard them against late spring frost. This time, you will use frost cloths over them. At night, the temperature in spring could suddenly dip to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. With the help of the frost cloths, adequate heat and humidity coming from the flowers and leaves are maintained.
In addition, you can use outdoor Christmas lights to give additional warmth to your fruit trees. Remember not to use the LED type since that does not emit any heat. Instead, you should use the traditional lights and place them on the branches and trunks of your fruit trees. Use them every night to keep the temperature up for a bit.
Consequently, you need to apply a steady mist of water to your fruit trees. You can spray this mist using a regular garden hose that has a spray nozzle attachment. We know that the water will begin to freeze when it reaches a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the water continuously coming into contact with the leaves of the fruit trees will begin to freeze, this will be beneficial. This is because the process of transforming from liquid water to solid ice will give off energy that will provide heat to your fruit trees.
In conclusion, there are many ways you can protect your fruit trees both from winter frost and late spring frost. Likewise, it helps that you know the impact of frost on your fruit trees.
We hope this article helped you in safeguarding your fruit trees from sudden dips in temperature. If you have any queries, do give us a comment.