WOW Citrus are hardy!

andrew78(6)March 15, 2012

Hi everyone,

Usually around this time of year, we will get some freak days where temps are in the 50's and 60's but for the past 4 or 5 days now, we have been above the 50 degree mark. Nightime temps have been pretty warm also, so I have been slowly moving tropicals outdoors.

Yesterday morning I thought I was going to have a heart attack...I think you guys will understand.

Before I went to bed, I checked the local weather, and temps were not predicted to drop below 32. I got up in the a.m. and went to my kitchen and from the window, I could see a light frost on the ground! I thought my 2 mango trees and my citrus were GONERS! I couldn't tell how bad it was until that afternoon.

None of my new citrus were harmed what so ever, in fact, my 'Meyer' continues to grow flower buds, and my 'Star Ruby' grapefruit was beginning to open its buds.

My rare 'Maha Chinook' mango suffered the most damage but even with that it was minimal. I had 2 small growth flushes that were fried, but thankfully that was it, and even with that just the new leaves were damaged.

This was a lesson for me, all though I think I was more mad at myself for listening to the weatherman! This will not happen to me again..LOL!


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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

glad they did ok. What was the temperature when you noticed the frost? I have a hard time ever trusting the weatherman. The only time the seem to be absolutely correct is when they are tracking a storm on radar. Its kinda hard to screw that up.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:49AM
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My sentiments with Mike on that Andrew! The weather men are a joke! They said we were going to be in the 60's and 70's all week, up till two days ago, and we can't even get out of the 40's. Grey, cloudy and cold. Thank God all I brought out was one tree. It was 36 last night. I don't trust them for a minute. They are saying 70's and 80's starting this weekend, right.........Then what, back to snow and unusually cold temps. It stinks trying to grow tropicals up here that hate being indoors!

If you had any pests on those, I hope they fell off from freeze or died. That's a bonus at least!

I am so happy your plants survived. I hope they do well and that there was no ROOT damage which can creep up on you weeks later. Keep a close eye pal and good luck! Where's the pics??????lol

Have a great day Andrew and Mike!


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

I don't do anything to Meyer's lemon outside until 25F

Meyer Lemon freeze protection

Lights on at 25F

Cover and Lights below 23F

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia Home Orchard

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:20PM
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My citrus are outside all year long. They routinely take 25�F and even a bit lower with only minor damage to the new growth at that temperature. Anything above 25�F has almost no effect on them at all. This includes lemons, grapefruits, oranges and mandarins.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:21PM
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You're all liars, exaggeraters then! lol

If my tree were exposed to those temps up here, they would die in a heart beat with frozen roots in frozen pots. There must be a difference between your cold than mine then? lol

Have a great day and good to see you around again Brett:-)


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:46PM
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i always leave room for +/- a few degrees.

citrus can withstand a light frost, mangos are a little more sensitive to any frost.

glad the dmg wasnt too bad on your mango. i recognize your name from the Plumeria forums. did they get dmg'ed?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

One way to predict a lower than expected temperature is cloud cover. If it is expected to be cloudy but you look up and see a clear bight then watch out. The weather people can't predict sudden holes in a mostly cloudy sky.

I have my own weather station and that helps as well. Go down my blog a few post and you can see a screen print od one of the computer displays.

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia Home Orchard

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:35PM
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All my Citrus and most of my palms are out for the season. This past week was very warm for mid March (Mid 70's). Today was a bit chilly but big warm up returns in the coming week. This time of year, temps can be very tricky to predict locally. If there's a sea breeze, expect cold and raw but frost free. But western and southern suburbs can be 20 to 30 degrees warmer at the same time. Meyermike, don't despair, mid Spring is knocking at your door step. Blooming now are Camellias, Saucer and Star Magnolias, Forsythias, and other ornamental trees. I am actually glad it chilled down as the it will prolong the bloom period and Spring is usually a non existent season here as we normally go from cold to summer heat. Oh, all my Citrus overwintered in their cold winter retreat enclosure, but I did suffer the loss of a Mango. But other tropical trees survived including the tropical guava, a Caribbean variety of avocado, several bananas, and all the seed-grown, Date palms that that help bring shade to the 'oasis'.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Hey Mike,

How's it going. I think the difference is that these temperatures only occur for a few hours in the night-time. During the day the temperature will rise to 45-55, thus the roots probably never get close to freezing.

Once every 20 years or so we get a major freeze where the temperature at night drops into the upper teens and the daytime temps stay close to freezing for a few days. This usually kills the limes and lemons, however the in ground oranges and mandarins survive. That being said, I would bet unprotected potted citrus would croak regardless of the type of citrus.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Hi guys,
WOW lots of comments, and I greatly appreciate it.

Mksmith...I believe it was around 36 when I saw the frost on the ground but the sun was all ready rising so who knows what the actual temps were..I would guess and say that it must have been a few degrees cooler to get the minor leaf damage.

I usually do not go with the weatherman's predictions. Before I went to bed, it was still pretty warm, around 48 but then it obviously dropped significantly by morning.

There was no cloud cover but I thought I was still safe, we have been very VERY warm lately and I didn't expect this at all but so far, I haven't seen any other damage. I think having all my trees right up against the wall of the house helped to protect them even more.

I think there are several variables that go into why your trees would die here and the trees in sub tropics and tropics don't. I know humidity plays a part in it, drying damaging winds, warm pockets of air that settle also help to protect them. Also, I think the fact that your trees are in pots is an issue. Large trees with substantial root systems are probobly more protected. I wouldn't think that soil temps in FL or anywhere where citrus grow in ground, would drop rapidly just from a a light or heavy frost but I may be way off here...just a guess.

Take care everyone,

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:12AM
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For the record. It can frost when the ambient air is as high as near 40 Deg F, given certain conditions. Those being no wind or cloud cover, and no overhead obstruction. It is called an adiabatic freeze. Meaning there is no heat change. Energy is radiated off to outer space and the object gets colder than its surroundings. Typically it happens when a high pressure center crosses overhead about daylight. This is Mother Nature's way of by-passing the Second Law of Thermodynamics.


That is why I stress not fertilizing late in the second half of the year and letting the trees harden off. You can gain 3 to 9 deg F hardiness depending on variety. And down here where it seldom gets below 25 F, that is all we need eight times out of ten.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:37PM
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greyghost61(8b SoWeGa)

I grow them in the ground in GA and have no problem when it gets down to 20 or so, if it has been a cool winter.....they are dorment, but this year, we had days dang near in the 80s for a good chunk of Feb, then a cold snap, all the new growth was fried, but the trees are doing great now. The most I do is put a frost cloth on them when it gets real cold.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Howdy Andrew..How've you been?

I would have died!! lol.

I've set a few plants out since our 84F degrees days two wks ago.
This past wkend, night temps dropped in the 30's, plants were still out and weren't harmed. But, the plants can take cold temps. Gardenia, Geranium, succulent dish and Euphorbia 'Nero.'

Notice, none are citrus though, lol.

I'm shocked your new citrus didn't freeze, especially if they've recently came from a warmer climate.

Hey Mike!! Toni

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:17PM
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To those that addressed my concerns and my jokingly way of speaking, thank you for your input!

By the way, did I ever say it is nice to you you all, Brett, Tantanman, buy the way, are you extra tan? I love that, Toni, and Dave! Hello Dave!

Nice to meet the rest of you all!

Oh Dave, I hope you are right. I wish it would stay above freezing and stop going from the 70's to the teens within days. My plants are all confused as so am I.
I have lost my fruit tree buds, magnolia flowers and who knows what else.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:30PM
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andrewofthelemon(7b Central Arkansas)

I'm glad that I didn't get freezes at this time this year. The always mess up with the quality and quantity of apples from my two trees.
Mike, getting those temps are especially bad for your plants, because they are in pots, right?
The reason why is the same reasons why bridges freeze faster, the ground holds on to heat. If they are in the ground, then the are insulated until the ground loses all its heat, which usually takes several days of freezing weather and maybe some rain here.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

greyghost61 what citrus do you have in the ground? I have Meyer's Satsuma and a new Red Navel.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:33PM
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greyghost61(8b SoWeGa)

I have brown select, orwari, meyers, moro blood, and both sweet and tart kumquats. I never worry about protection until it is going to drop down into the mid 20s, some of them have been in the ground during temps down in the teens with snow and an ice storm (only third snow that stuck to ground in my life and I am 50 and an even rarer ice storm). Did not protect during the snow storm or ice storm, was afraid the weight would break them. I have found that they will harden up if we have a decent fall and no long warm spells (high 70s and 80s) in Jan and Fed and handle lower temps rather well.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:33AM
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We have unseasonal warm weather in Chicago a week or two ago. Now it is back to normal, upper 50 to mid 60 in day and mid to upper 30 at night. All my house plants are outside now, including meyer lemon tree , orange tree , kumquats trees, etc. I also have all my cactis outside as well. This morning when I do routine check on them, they seems not bothered by the cold night temperature. My Epi. looks have more life than it is in the winter time indoor. Plants are not as fragil as we thought they are. Many plants can take some cold in short time without being harmed.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:58AM
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OG...What happens if winter returns here in IL? lol.

I agree plants are a lot hardier than we think, however, when plants are outside from spring until autunm, and temps drop, they tend to adapt...on the other hand, when plants are indoors, brought outside, and by chance temps drop in the 30's, don't you think they can go in shock?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Yes, Toni! Plants will go into shock!

You know, I am beginning to wonder of some here have plants that are fed Nuclear Waste
Immune to any adversity.

I do know that a brief chill here and there, and I mean brief amount of time, might not seem to do much harm from looking at our plants appearance on the surface, but remember that most damage to most plants does not show up until days or sometimes weeks.

NO one knows what is going on under the surface usually until it's too late.

Temps consistantly dropping that low not only cause severe fine root delayed damage, but kill off almost any tropical plant in a short period of time, especially citrus in containers, and even succulents if kept moist.

I like my plants to grow to their full potential, and exposing them to needless stress like that will only inhibit their will to grow their best, and easily maintain their vigor.

For plants requiring a chill period for whatever reason, now that is a different story.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 1:12PM
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My plants are outside at least two weeks now, maybe more, ever since the weather started to warm up in early March. No sign of shock or dying. Leave buds, flower buds are all starting show up. I don't know if they went through the shock or not. They did not tell me but I am shocked when I see my Clementine orange tree has flowers buds about 5-7 mm size and my night bloom Epi show new grow this morning. The rest all are health than ever and looked ready to start new life. So check the facts and tell me they are in shock ?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Epi's actually need a chilling period to perk up and flower. That is what I do to mine too. What kind of flower are you getting? What color?
When it opens, I would love to see a pic...They are one of my favorite plants actually.
I'll post a pic of mine for you once mines opens. It is a rather unusual color.

As for citrus, it can be weeks down the road before you even notice any cold damage as in what happened to mine last year. If this doesn't happen to you, then I will be very happy for you.
Shock can cause a citrus to go into bloom, but so can good growing practices..Who knows? But, you will know for sure how they reacted to the very cold temps eventually, right?
I hope it is all good for you. I am just very scared to take that chance with mine.

Please, let us know how they faired and how long they were subjected to very cold temps, what kind of temps, and for how long if you don't mind?

Thanks a bunch and good to meet you:-)


    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Hi, Mike, Good to meet you too.
My Epi. is night blooming white colored and scented. It was given to me by friend of mine. I believe it was originated in China. I guess it is a Chinese type of Epi. it could also be possible that someone brough one speciment to China from Mexico too. I just don't know its root. But when it blooms it is very large. One minute you don't pay attention to it, it is done. A lot of work for just a night of beauty. But it is a no comparible beauty! I don't have a lot of experiences on growing epi. only follows common sense of a desert/cactus plant's care. I recently read some about how to make it bloom and chill temp. requirements. When it was bloomed last time , I had no idea why it bloomed. We don't remember whether we had put it in the cold temp. in the winter or not. My guess is not. Because all we thinking is that this is desert plant, it like warm. When it bloomed, we thought it is a time. it decided it was the timeto give us a show. I don't know if it is going to flower or not this year. I recently purchased 6 more colored Epi. hope to enjoy the bloom a little longer.

Many citru's I have grafted on fly dragon which is very hardy, almost zone 5 hardy root stock. This above the freeze temp. here will not harm the root at all. I also see citrus grow in area when winter snows covered the trees when I was in China. So I know citrus can take some cold , at least in short period.
My citrus are all in the pot, when it getting too cold in day and night temp. I can always bring them back indoor again.But this current temp at night temp above 32, around 36-39, I don't worry too much about it. Also, the mico-climate near the house will bring the temp few degree higher than open field.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 6:16PM
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I was reading this to my mother and she got a kick out of the sentence that you said..
To quote:
"One minute you don't pay attention to it, it is done. A lot of work for just a night of beauty". She says she feels like that everytime she gets ready to go out in

What a lot of work for a a flower to show up after a whole year of waiting is right. You should see one of the cactus's I own. If you don't catch the flowers opening up at day, stuck at work of course, you will never see them again.
My Epi is just about to open and I will post a picture here for you once it does. I can't wait until you see the color.
It sounds like you have yourself a very special plant there. I would love to see it flower, that is if you can catch it:-)

I wish I knew what my citrus were grafted on. How do you know when buying them? They only give me the name of the kind of tree, but never that.
Sounds like you have yourself some very hardy trees. I wish mine were like that. If they were, I would just as soon stick them outside right now and call it a day.
I hate having to wait until almost May before I can. Such a long time to be indoors:0*(.....

Have a great day:-)


    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 8:09AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, everyone! Good to see you all!

If unprotected, my citrus begin to show signs of tissue damage in the mid-20ðF's.
Sometimes, the cold will show up as simply as a dulling of the leaves.

I think the key is the duration of the exposure, as several mentioned.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Mike, laughing at your mom's comment. She has sense of humor! I love to see pictures of your Epi. flower. Mine is so short lived, we even did not take picture of it. We did not know it will bloom that night. Only see the flower bud grew longer, and larger. We know it should bloom soon in general but we really did not pay special attention to it. It bloomed very later at night. It was near/after midnight if I remembered correctly. I was told it bloom in every short time frame but in our mind,we really expect the flower lasted longer than it actually did.
My common cactus is much easier and have good looking flowers as well. Not as grand , but it is also very pure white, and large. The flowers last much longer indoor.

Most of my citrus trees, when I ordered them from nursery, I check the type of root stock , same thing goes with my other fruit trees. The root stock in somewhat is more important than what was grafted on. The rest of collection, I purchased in either Home Depot or Lowe's. I can see the root stock grow from the side. I know what the fly dragon's leave looks like. Its leave has very unusual shape than most citrus' It also has large thorn! My last Kumquat plant I bought had fly dragon grow when i bought it at Lowe's/Home Depot. I only paid 5 bucks for it. I just cut it off when I got the plant home. No big deal.
The only citrus I have that is not grafted on fly dragon is my unknown Chinese variety Kumquat. It was grafted on some Chinese citrus, I heard it was a type of sour orange grow from seed. I don't know if we have it here. But I was told the fruit does not taste good, so they use it as root stock to graft a Chinese Kumquat onto it. The tree is 5 years tree, I kept it under 2 feet. It grows fruits every year for last two years now. My another kumquat, Fukushi also grows fruit for the past two years . I compare the taste of both kumquats I have. My unknown Chinese variety is noticeable firmer and sweeter. I read somewhere, the Fukushi was supposed to be sweet, but it tasted sour to me. Its fruit is larger. The Kumquat I bought from Lowe for 5 buck is different type, Nagami? I no long have the tag on the tree, not sure I spelled it correct. Somebody said it is a Chinese type and is supposedly very sweet. I can't wait to find it out.

If you tell me how to post a picture , I will post some pictures .

Josh, I agree with you. The duration of exposure has a lot to do with it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:12PM
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