The Q&A Archives: Orange Tree Protection

Question: How should I cover my new orange trees for the winter. Last year they all died from the cold. I replaced them this spring with 5 gallon standard and semi dwarf trees. It sometimes gets to the low teens in the night here in Central CA.
My plan is to surround the trees with stakes and cover all sides with clear plastic leaving about a 6 inches space from the foliage. Should I use plastic? What about the top...plastic or burlap? Thanks.

Answer: I build a protective cover for most of my sensitive trees using a a wooden framework covered by shade cloth--beware of using clear plastic. I cover the framework with 50% shade cloth on top, east and west sides and 75% shade cloth on the north side. I leave the south side open. The north side protection reduces the chilling and drying effect of winter winds. A similar approach which reportedly protects plants is to enclose the entire plant with a product called Agrinet. This material is very light and is easily supported by the tree's limbs. It is also available from mail order suppliers.

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