Fun fact, AGRICULTURE of Florida citrus began in the 1500’s when Spanish explorers planted the first orange trees in St. Augustine and today Florida oranges produce about 3/4 of the United States orange juice.
Below freezing overnight temperatures hit central Florida this past week. Growers protected their crops by turning on water sprinkler systems which creates a layer of ice protecting the trees and fruit from damage. I stopped by an orange grove to see how effective this icing practice was.
The grove was staggered planted with early season, mid season and late season varieties of oranges. So there were trees with fruit that was ready to pick, fruit blossoms, fruit just set and the blossoms were fading and fruit that had begun to mature and it was still green.
Here are a few examples of what I saw in the grove.
The skin of juice oranges aren’t eye appealing like the oranges we buy at the market.
The new blossoms on this tree appear not to be affected by the cold temperatures.
Newly formed fruit approximately 4 – 6 mm with with fading blossoms look unaffected by the cold.
A cluster of maturing green oranges ranging in sizes between chestnuts and golf balls also seem to be unscathed however, the leaves surrounding the fruit shows evidence of weather stress.
From the walk I took through the grove it appears to these untrained eyes that the practice of icing to protect from frost works well.
BTW another fun fact, cold temperatures sweeten the juice but prolonged periods of time with freezing temperatures can ruin a crop.
Do You See What I See…
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Sorry there aren’t any photo’s with the ice on the trees, I’d have to get up too early.