Citrus > Cold Hardy Citrus

2015 harvest


After reading a lot here and asking many questions for years, this past year I harvested 350 Meyer Lemons from one large ungrafted in ground bush. I also picked 376 Satsumas from three grafted in ground bushes. They were probably in pots for about 4 years until they just got too big. They have been in ground 4 years I think. I took a deep breath and put them in a raised bed but I knew it would be hard to keep them alive with occasional temps as low as 11* F or less. I have used old fashioned Christmas tree lights and incandescent bulbs that are getting difficult or impossible to buy. I also use a huge piece of heavy frost cloth. If temps are expected to be lower than 20* F I put a huge plastic tarp over the top during the worst of it. When we have several days of more moderate temps I uncover everything. I hope to have a real green house one day. I have New Zealand lemonade, Kishu, Xie Shan and several others still in pots. Kishu and Xia Shan are my favorites but my friends love the Meyer ! I'm very excited about the New Zealand lemonade tree. Thanks Millett for all your help and also many others. Tom

Congratulations Tom!  That is a lot of fruit to reward your efforts to keep them protected on the harsh days and nights.  Keep up the good work.  I hope you will be able to build a greenhouse soon too.  I find mine very enjoyable even though I have a lot of work to do for it at times.  Thanks for posting your experience.  Nice to read.


Tom, approximately how many sub freezing night does Montgomery, Alabama get a year.  Nights where you have to protect your trees? - Millet

Great question, Quick answer would be probably 14 days each winter would be critical and maybe another 7-14 days that are marginal. I guess we could look it up if I knew where to look ! Sub freezing nights aren't my real problem right now. It would be if I was trying to grow almost anything besides Satsuma and Meyer lemons. My biggest problem is the fluctuating temperatures we get. It can be 80* F on December 25 and I've seen it snow a good bit in April ! If I was growing Valencia and Navel oranges I'm guessing any below freezing temperature would be dangerous. I'm guessing we average maybe 21 days a year with an hour or more of freezing temps and maybe 3 days a year when we don't get above freezing for 24 or more hours. The last two years have seemed to have more than average freezing days and more than average warm days. So I'm saying our extremes have been more unusual lately. I've seen years we almost went all winter without a hard freeze and I've seen single digits temps about 20 years ago. That was the freeze that devastated Florida. Both situations were very unusual. All that to say average is hard to go by because we can have extremes any winter. One year in the summer we went 60 days without any measurable precipation. We had a good rain at either end of the drought but we can get very dry with only 14 days without a rain. I know this is different than many other areas of our diverse world ! Thanks for asking. Tom

I found the information on the internet easier than I remember last time. Average mean number of days with a temp of less than 32* F for 49 years in Montgomery AL. January 13 days, February 8 days,March 2 days, April 2 days,  November 4 days, December 11 days.  Annual days less than 32*F=39 days each year in Montgomery AL. That's what I found but when I add the days I get 40. Maybe a weird anomaly. I still say with what I'm growing right now in ground it's usually less than that to worry about. If trees are dormant I don't worry unless temps are predicted below 28* F. I also don't remove frost cloth if freezing temps are predicted again within a week or so because I worry the temps might be worse. One year I was lazy or maybe less knowledgable than now and left the frost cloth on most of the winter. I had to irrigate because my temps were higher with the frost cloth and the rain we had could not all get inside. My stupidity really. I am still learning. If our temps are predicted to be less than 20*F I cover everything with frost cloth and a plastic tarp on top too. I have to be very careful because it can get very hot inside with the plastic on during the day. If careless I could invoke a green flush while having unseasonably low temps. I guess I'd have to watch the forecast really close to try to protect the tender leaves. All averages would be thrown out the window and I'd have an almost worse case scenario. Worse case is to lose power, generator give out of gas, and snow or ice cave in my pvc bows and frost cloth. Then I would cry and pray. So far , so good ! Tom


[0] Message Index

Go to full version