My papaya trees are ready for the cold front

jlgarden(8)December 9, 2012

Expect low at 29F tomorrow. Has gone this far and do not want to give up at this point. I want to taste the fruits, at least one from each tree. They are F1 and Red Lady.
The bags are filled with mulch. I think the trees should be fine at 29F. Just hope it will not get any lower. I will cover the top when the temp drop. NDM mango is in the background.

Still need few bags of mulch for these two.

My question is should I punch some holes to the bags to let them breathe?

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mangodog(palm springs 9B)

No - I wouldn't punch holes....BUT.... the tree really
does NOT want to get wet where the trunk meets
the soil - wet and cold are the worst nightmare for a papaya - the base of the plant will rot then - so I'd be a little nervous about the mulch doing just that. Sure hope it's fairly dry mulch. Did you ever think of just wrapping the trunk in insulation of some kind and then cover that with plastic??

Interesting - I never saw anybody clip off all the
leaves before - where did you hear to do that?

Good luck jl - and keep us posted - it's a long winter - you'll need the luck!


    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Mangodog, I have thought of rotting too. Since we have only a few nights of hard free a year and they need to be protected on those days only. I want the setup to be easy to put up and take down. I am going to take them down this weekend. The trees survived 37F in November without protection. This give me an idea when to protect them again. I always want to plant my tropical fruit trees in ground and have an easy way to protect them throughout winner. I had read someone used mulch to protect trees before, so this method was intent for my sugar apple, cherimoya and maybe adediums. Why not papayas? If the trees live through the winter, will they grow healthy new leaves and fruits again? I will find out next summer and will post here.

29F and 30F were recorded last two nights. Inside the tent, the in-ground NDM mango and cherimoya look fine but the sugar apple looks terrible. Also this unprotected papaya.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 10:00PM
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Mangodog, my NDM grew slow and weak whether it was in pot or in-ground. I suspected this was due to the high heat in my area. Do you experience that with yours too? I got one fruit from it this year and was disappointed. It was ripe green and felt off the tree itself. Long shape with paper thin seed but did not have the yellow color compare to those on the web. I wander if mine was not NDM or there are different NDM out there?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 10:35PM
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Do you get rain during your winter? Water getting through to the roots doesn't need to be near freezing point to cause rot. You'd probably be better off having them on raised soil.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 5:31AM
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Yes, we have rain during our winter. Never thought of root rot that way. Next year, I will put my new trees on raised beds. And I should start seeds at the right time so trees will not be too big in the winter.
All three trees live with no signs of damage. Inside the tent, cheimoya and mango get some burn, but the sugar apple is completely brown.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 8:46PM
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ive gotten mulch on foliage before and it can burn leaves.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:04AM
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mangodog(palm springs 9B)

jlgarden - my NDM is a seedling and grows steady and strong and has been in the ground about 2 1/2 years. No fruit yet, but am hoping for a couple this year. One stalk flowered last year but did not set any fruitlets.

Well, your experiment seems partly successful on some plants, so congrats!!!!! Sorry to hear about your mango getting burned, and that papaya, too, though I suspect it is not dead if the crown still looks viable.

Let us know how the rest of the winter goes. I measured 35 degrees in my yard last night, so tonight will cover all my mangos and papayas just to be safe. I'm feeling more and more like I am in a cold draining location as the official overnight low in Palm Springs was in the low 40's last night. Tonight they predict 39 so I'm gonna play it real safe and batten down the hatches.....

Mr. Frost Cloth

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:29PM
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vossner(z9 houston)

this pic was taken today, jan 4 2013. You can see all the tiny unripe fruit. I bought a T R Hovey as I thought it was supposed to be dwarf but I don't call 8 ft "dwarf". I really didn't want something this big as it covers my fancy var. banana. grrrr....

Here is a link that might be useful: papaya

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:52PM
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