Explore what growers should and shouldn’t do for citrus after a cold snap from a UF/IFAS Multi-County Citrus Agent.

The Sunshine State is well-known for its hot weather, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get cold from time to time. Severe cold snaps are common, such as the severe freeze seen in mid-January. A Growing Produce article shared the recommendations by UF/IFAS Multi-County Citrus Agent, Mongi Zekri, on what to do—and what not to do—for citrus after a cold snap. See the details below.

Caring for Citrus After a Cold Snap

The article maintains “If twigs and wood have not been damaged severely, the leaves will rapidly shed. If twigs or wood have been seriously damaged, the frozen leaves may remain attached on the tree for several weeks.” This means it can take months for the full extent of the damage to be known.

The following points were taken from the article, sharing do’s and don’ts for after a severe freeze:

Do’s for Citrus After a Cold Snap

  • “Mature fruit should be harvested as soon as possible to minimize losses due to excessive fruit drop and reduction in juice content.”
  • “When leaves are lost, evaporation from the tree canopy is greatly reduced. Therefore, the amount of water required should be reduced. Over irrigation will not result in rapid recovery, but may cause root damage.”
  • “Normal irrigation should be practiced when trees regain their normal foliage development and canopy density.”
  • “Fertilization of freeze-damaged trees should also be reduced until the trees are back to their original size and their canopy is back to the original density.”

Don’ts for Citrus

  • “No attempt should be made to prune or even assess damage from freezes until at least the new spring flushes get fully expended and mature.”

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