Grower Sees More Damage From Season’s Second Freeze

Josh McGillCold Hardy, freeze

Another freeze event last weekend could spell doom for some citrus trees produced in the cold-hardy citrus region. Kim Jones, president of the Cold Hardy Citrus Association, discussed the dire situation facing growers in the region.

A lemon tree shows burn damage from December and January freezes in Tifton, Georgia.

“I think we had some damage to some new growth that had come out from the last freeze. I can’t tell how much, but we’ve had some damage that could potentially finish off some of the weaker trees,” said Jones, owner of Florida Georgia Citrus, a growing and packing operation in Monticello, Florida, and part-owner of The Satsuma Company in Tifton, Georgia.

Jones said some trees, specifically navels, had begun to come back already from the previous freeze with some small growth. But he said that growth “looked like it got fried again” from the new freeze. “It may be a goner on some of those trees, at least portions of them.”

Most of the citrus produced in the region are satsuma mandarins, which are cold hardier. It is the other varieties that have Jones concerned.

“The satsumas look really good. I don’t think we’ve got any problems with those. The navels and the Hamlins and those other varieties that are not as cold hardy are hurt pretty bad,” Jones reported.

He said the few hours below freezing last weekend would not have been impactful at all if they had not come on the heels of the Christmas freeze event.

“Trees wouldn’t have busted out with new growth had they not got burned back by the Christmas freeze,” Jones said. “By the end of February, we’ll really know the extent of the damage. I think it’ll be then before we can really tell.”

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Clint Thompson

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