Protecting a Tree From Frost

With freezing temperatures fast approaching us, many of us are worried about our trees and how to prepare them for the cold nights ahead. 

Like you, I was also wondering, “How do I protect my tree from frost?” 

I have a few different fruit trees I am worried about, but this guide will help you prepare your tree for the cold ahead. 

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliated, which means I may earn a small commission on it. That is no reflection on the product as I only recommend items I too enjoy! 

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Do I need to cover a fruit tree for frost?

This may depend on your species, but typically most landscape and fruit trees will need to be covered. This is especially true for trees such as citrus. 

Many varieties of trees we use in our yards and gardens just aren’t very adapted to the cold. This means we need to help prepare them for colder nights. 

Here in Pensacola, Florida, I grow various fruit trees like citrus. Citrus just is not cold tolerant, which means when it gets cold, I have to either cover the tree or risk it freezing. 

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What temperature should I cover a tree?

Personally, I cover trees when the temperature even threatens to drop below freezing. 

The tree species is also a major factor in if you should cover it. A tropical tree will need to be covered at higher temperatures, but a more frost-hardy tree will do well without much help. 

Newly planted trees will also need added protection as they are not as hardy as established trees. The first two to three years after planting, I usually baby my trees.

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What is the best material to cover a tree from frost?

Typically, I use a large tarp or blanket over my trees. Lately, I have been using the Meekear Freeze Protection Plant Cover, and I find they work great!

You do not need a fancy frost cover, though, I will say though, these seem to fit better. They also work if you have to leave it on longer. They do not look as tacky as blankets and sheets covering all your trees!

You do not need to cover your tree to the ground. It will keep it warmer, but the main goal is to protect the leaves and branches. 

Now, that does not include trees that have been planted in more recent years. A good frost barrier like ANPHSIN 2 Pack Tree Protector Wraps works amazingly at protecting the tree bark from frost! 

Trees that are freshly planted are not as hardy as older trees and may need added protection!

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Does spraying trees with water protect them from frost?

This is an old-time way to protect a tree from frost. While it does work, it takes some precision. 

This works because the layer of ice helps sort of insulate the tree and prevents further dropping, but it does not prevent all damage. 

While opting for this low-cost way to protect your tree may seem like the way to go, it has its drawbacks. 

  • The tree can still be damaged by the cold.
  • Too much water may cause excessive ice
  • Newly formed buds will have damage. 

However, even with the new buds being damaged, the whole tree is protected from frost damage, which is the goal, right?

Well, yes and no. Your tree dying is not a great thing, but the newly formed buds dying just isn’t great either. This may be best for a much larger tree. But for those with smaller fruit trees, I just do not recommend this method. 

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Conclusion

When planning for colder nights, make sure to ensure your trees’ safety. This is especially true for newly planted trees! Whether you cover them or attempt to spray water, protecting trees is essential for all gardeners!

Happy Planting!

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