Freezing cold weather is set to wash over the state of Florida tonight into tomorrow night, so please be prepared!
A few comments about freeze protection in orchards:
- Be sure that your orchard is well-watered – we will be getting sun each day, and wet soil has a greater capacity to absorb heat, and also release it during the night, offering a few degrees of protection.
- Watch the weather – and keep your coffee pot going. For those in Central Florida and to the south, it looks like the temperature will drop to a critical period around 2 a.m. on Friday morning. However, if the wind is too high, you may induce evaporative cooling rather than protect the fruit, which can do more severe damage.
- Know what your irrigation system capabilities are to be able to meet the appropriate water output.
- See: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ch182 – this is for citrus, but the principles that they go over, like reading a sling psychrometer are useful to understand.
- Hold off on any orchard related activities, like thinning fruit – the cold weather may do a good job of that for you!
Weather Related Resources:
- The National Weather Service – http://www.noaa.gov/ – just put in your city or zip. I find that the best resource is a graph like this which gives you the temperature and wind speed which is important:
- Frost Protection for Orchards – http://hos.ufl.edu/extension/stonefruit/frost-protection-orchards-0 – this gives you information on how much water you will need to protect to a certain level of leaf temperature, considering the wind speed. In addition, there is a Critical Bud Temperature Chart that you can access to see what sort of damage you might have, but for most growers with fruit on the trees, 27-28F will be lowest that the fruit can tolerate.
- Evaporative Cooling Potential Tool – FAWN – http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/tools/coldp/evaporative_cooling.php
- Wet-Bulb Based Irrigation Cutoff Temperature – FAWN – http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/tools/irrigation_cutoff/
For those of you that might be stressed – have heart! It won’t be as cold as it will be in Citra, FL at our research plots for peaches and blueberries!
As always, if you have any questions, please contact me – email@example.com.