Fruit growers know they need to think and act seasonally to make decisions today that will impact their crops in the seasons and years to come. This kind of strategic thinking can be the difference between a grower whose operations thrive from season to season and one who flounders when he encounters seasonal struggles. Likewise, thinking about your tasks for the current season and the next one is critical to planning for winter.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Over at Fruit Growers Supply (FGS) ‘s Orange Cove location, Warehouse Supervisor Jerry Cedillo emphasizes the importance of planning for the winter months. With 18 years of experience with FGS, he’s seen it all when it comes to growers’ approaches to preparing for winter or, in some cases, waiting too long to prepare. But, Cedillo says, “the biggest issue our growers come across is frost. It’ll damage the fruit if we experience too long of a freeze.”
As an agricultural supplier, FGS stocks what growers need in advance of the following seasons. “We get truckloads of product in before cooler weather,” explains Cedillo, “but that product won’t move until that first cold night when suddenly everyone is in here trying to get it.” The folks who plan ahead have the greatest success protecting their crops over the winter.
Prepare for winter with these steps
Cooler temperatures will encourage your citrus trees, a type of evergreen, to enter their semi-dormant stage. When these trees experience gradually cooling temperatures, they will harden off and be able to tolerate dips in temperatures of a few degrees better than trees that haven’t hardened off. However, if frost arrives before your trees can harden off, it’s good to be prepared with protection, so you don’t experience crop damage.
Prune when temperatures begin to drop
So, what can you, a grower, do right now in the middle of fall to protect your crops in the winter? First, be ready to prune your trees as soon as those cooler temperatures arrive. Stock up on chainsaw equipment like bar oil and sharpening tools, plus reliable pairs of loppers in late summer or early fall before you need to pull out your pruning equipment. When it’s time to prune, use best practices depending on the type and age of trees you have. Young trees, in particular, need proper care, including strategic pruning and winter preparation. Prune any weak limbs or undesired shoots on young trees, and remove deadwood, overlapping branches, and undesired shoots on mature trees.
Harness the heat-retaining powers of your soil
If you expect frost in the immediate future, ensure you water your trees adequately. This will help protect them from freezing because damper soils will retain more heat from the sun during the day, and your trees will absorb some of that retained heat overnight. As with all your irrigating, make sure you’re being strategic with your water use.
You can also rake your mulch back away from your trees a bit. Like the soil, mulch will absorb solar radiation during the day, then release that heat overnight. If your mulch is further away from the trunk, that heat will rise into a greater area of the canopy than if it’s centered tightly around the tree trunk.
Stock up on winter protection items
Now is the time to stock up on items that protect your crops from frost. Tree covers, wraps, tenting materials, and frost monitors will help you when frigid temperatures arrive. Wrapping a tree tightly may not retain much heat. Allowing heat to circulate through the air will keep your plants warmer than a tight wrap. Tenting your trees and securing the edges with heavy items will trap heat better and keep your trees warmer than a tight wrap.
Help with your winter crop protection is right around the corner
At Fruit Growers Supply, we ensure you can do your job year-round. We’ll help you set your operations up for success throughout every season. We’ve been in business for over 100 years and place the highest priority on customer service. As your go-to agricultural supplier, we have everything you need to protect your crops for the winter and the expertise to set you up for operation-wide success. Remember that we can help save you money when you plan and place a direct order through us for your agricultural products. You can also purchase in bulk to reduce your costs. So if you want the job done right, let us be your first call, or stop by one of our supply stores today.
Have any questions? We’re happy to help – stop in one of our supply stores today, or fill out our contact form by clicking below.