EXETER, Calif. — The 2023 frost season is underway for San Joaquin Valley citrus growers. That means growers will be closely monitoring weather forecasts to prepare for any cold spells that may sweep through the valley in the coming months.
While cold temperatures benefit the crop by maintaining fruit quality, improving color, and sending trees into dormancy long periods of below-freezing temperatures are of concern to growers.
“Cold temperatures aren’t a bad thing for citrus. In fact, they can have positive effects on the fruit and trees,” says California Citrus Mutual President/CEO Casey Creamer. “It’s when below-freezing temperatures last for long periods of time that we get concerned there could be damage to the crop.”
Below-freezing temperatures lasting more than a few hours have the ability to impact all citrus varieties. However, mandarins are often at the greatest risk due to their thin peel.
To combat below-freezing temperatures citrus growers run wind machines and irrigation. These techniques help raise grove temperatures and alleviate any negative effects of long cold periods.
California Citrus Mutual (CCM) aids growers during the frost season by running the Weather Watch Program. Through this program, CCM employs weather stations throughout the region and provides growers with daily citrus-specific forecasts. The program runs from November 15 through March 15 each year.
About California Citrus Mutual (CCM)
CCM is a voluntary, non-profit trade association whose mission is to protect and enhance the viability of California’s citrus growers. California produces 90 percent of the fresh citrus grown domestically on roughly 250,000 bearing acres of oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, and specialty varieties.
* As we enter the colder parts of the season, please direct all weather and citrus-related media inquiries to Abby Peltzer at email@example.com.
–California Citrus Mutual