How to Keep Fruit Trees From Freezing

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Most fruit trees cannot tolerate frost or freezing conditions for very long before dropping their buds and fruit. If you are expecting a freeze, you can protect your fruit trees with minimal maintenance and a little ingenuity.

Wrap, Mulch & Cover

  • Wrap your fruit tree's trunk with roofing paper, burlap or another insulating material.

  • Apply a thick layer (at least three inches) of organic mulch over your fruit tree's roots and base. Use shredded newspaper, pine bark, dried straw or pine needles to cover the ground around the tree and protect it from the cold. This will also help to keep the moisture in the soil and allow for maximum absorption of fertilizing nutrients.

  • Cover your young fruit tree with a clear plastic tarp if you are expecting a hard freeze. This will protect it from winter winds and allow sunlight to penetrate the covering. Be sure to remove the protective covering during daylight hours when the temperature rises above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coat

  • Mix one lb. of Ivory Snow and 1/2 lb. of high-calcium lime into five gallons of warm water. Shake well.

  • Attach a sprayer to your garden hose, and spray your fruit tree from top to bottom with the solution, being sure to cover every part of the tree's leaves, branches and trunk with the mix. Shake the sprayer well to keep the mixture from clogging up the hose during the application.

  • Rinse the plastic-like solution off of the tree when temperatures rise above freezing. Re-apply as necessary throughout the coldest winter months.

Tips & Warnings

  • Provide added warmth to fruit trees in winter by stringing Christmas lights throughout their branches or placing a 150 watt indoor/outdoor rated bulb in a socket at the base of the tree. Protect low-lying or fragile tree branches by tying them in a supportive fashion to the trunk of the tree with a loose knot. If you are concerned that fragile limbs may succumb to frost or heavy ice build-up, wrap the less stable limbs lightly in loose fabric or paper during cold spells. Be sure to remove the wrapping during daylight hours when the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

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