Winter Freeze Damage to Fruit Trees
About 10 days ago we had a dramatic visit from "Old Man Winter" which was quite unlike anything I have experienced in recent winters. Many winters give us a few nights of just below freezing for brief periods of time but this time we got four consecutive nights of temperatures below 20 degrees. One night this temperature lasted for over 8 hours. I have several good fruit trees planted around the back of my house. One is a nice white grapefruit; one is a pink navel orange (Cara Cara), one is a qumquat; two natural colored navel oranges; one Meyer Lemon tree and two recently planted pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) and some muscadine grape vines. The grape vines love the cold and will flourish after spring but my citrus trees just did not handle the cold very well.
Yesterday I picked all the fruit which remained on the trees and threw it into the woods behind my house for the varmints such as raccoon, possum, and foxes. We had harvested most of the oranges and juiced them for some yummy fresh OJ.
Now we just have to water these trees and wait for spring to see if they come out of their severe damage. Upon examination of the wood in the limbs I found only a few which seems to be damaged by bark splitting. I will probably have to begin pruning back the bad wood soon and wait with hope for restored greening of the other limbs. I doubt I will see many blossoms on any trees. The qumquat tree seems to have been totally killed so will probably cut it down and dig up the roots. I might plant something that is more "cold weather hardy".
Here are some pictures so you can see what happened in warm and sunny Florida.