Jan 7, 2014 6:46 PM by Kari Beal

How to prevent frozen citrus trees from dying

There's more below freezing temperatures in the forecast tonight and citrus farmers in Acadiana are paying close attention to their crops. Farmers like Eddie Romero in New Iberia, are keeping an eye on vulnerable trees like lemon, orange and grapefruit. He has a special technique to prevent these plants from dying.

"I've been spraying water on the trees all night, the minute before it drops below freezing," said Romero, owner of Eddie Romero's Fruit Orchard and President of Louisiana Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

Romero explained the continuous spray of water should keep the trunk at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This is essential because if a citrus plant falls below 20 degrees it will die.

Romero said once the ice melts, the fruit is good to eat. But make sure not to store it for too long because it will have a shorter shelf life than fruit picked during warmer temperatures.

"They're going to turn bad on you in a hurry, but keep them at cool at 40 degrees and they'll be okay," said Romero.

At cool temperatures the citrus fruit will last one to two weeks.

Want to see more stories from Kari? Follow her on twitter @Kari_EBeal and Facebook.



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