How Freezing Temperature Affect Bearing And New Trees

Wes Asai

Growers implement measures during the early spring to protect against frost injury and its potential to reduce yields. There are also key points before and after the critical bloom period when exposure to freezing temperatures are relevant, even starting as early as the handling of newly planted trees.

Bare-rooted trees are amazingly resilient after they are dug, and can withstand extensive handling and manipulation without suffering horticulturally. One vulnerability, though, is the risk of desiccation and freezing, particularly with some of the hybrid rootstocks. Trees that are not “healed-in” or binned in moist sawdust should not be allowed to dry out and be exposed to freezing temperatures. This can potentially injure or kill roots.

Cold-Storage Trees
This should also be a consideration if trees are destined for cold storage. Keep in mind that most growers do not prefer cold storage since it is usually the option when inclement weather or delays in ground preparation push back the targeted planting date.

Depending on the length of time trees are held in storage, and the humidity management of the facility, trees may dry out and need to be watered. Dry sawdust does not conduct water well and if it is too dry before the bins are re-watered, the bottoms of the bins where the roots are may not receive adequate water. This is especially important in the event the temperature of the storage facility may deviate and result in freezing.

I have seen bins of trees where the sawdust was frozen solid.

A young tree covered in ice. Following hard freezes and rainfall, bacterial canker can be a problem in a young orchard. (Photo credit: Wes Asai)
A young tree covered in ice. Following hard freezes and rainfall, bacterial canker can be a problem in a young orchard. (Photo credit: Wes Asai)

What To Watch For In Newly Planted Trees
After trees are newly planted, are they susceptible to frost injury? While I cannot say that I have ever documented actual trees in California dying after planting as a direct result of freezing, there are many cultural reasons one would want to avoid this potential.

It is well known that bearing trees are more susceptible to frost injury when the root zone is dry. Even sensitive ornamental plants, cactus, avocado and citrus trees are able to tolerate freezes better with a well-hydrated root system. If the soil moisture is low at planting time, trees should be tanked to both increase root moisture and seal air gaps in the root zone.

Potted tree plantings needs to be watched more closely since the interface between the potted root square and the soil does not conduct water as readily until the new roots become established.

Freeze injury may also be of concern to young orchards for a variety of other reasons. Following hard freezes and rainfall, bacterial canker (Pseudomonas syringae) can be a problem. In older orchards subject to the same conditions, bud bacterial blast from this same organism can result in crop losses. Some growers in very sandy ground run frost protection measures during the late dormant period, ahead of bloom for this very reason.

An up-close view of icicles on a branch. (Photo credit: Wes Asai)
An up-close view of icicles on a branch. (Photo credit: Wes Asai)

Ice Can Be Good
Sprinklers offer one of the best protections against frost damage. As bad as it may look, ice formation on trees can actually be good. When icicles form on trees when sprinklers are being run, they are actually generating the most amount of heat. As long as new wet ice is constantly forming, the plant material will remain near 32 degrees and actually is prevented from getting colder by the latent heat created by the conversion of liquid water into solid ice.

Newly planted trees completely covered with ice, or bearing trees whose bottoms are covered with icicles can survive unscathed if the root zone is previously hydrated, and the sprinklers are not turned off until the ambient temperature rises above the point where the ice is melting on its own. Obviously, under the severe conditions of a hard freeze (several degrees or hours below the critical damage temperature) no type of protective measures, be it sprinklers, wind machines or orchard heaters will prevent damage.

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Nuts Stories
Nuts
September 3, 2017
Codling Moth Monitoring Tips in Walnuts
Mating disruption doesn’t just affect those orchards directly involved; you need to consider the potential impact on nearby orchards. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in California
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.S.?
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Nuts
July 30, 2017
The New Normal of Almond Orchard Canopies
Just because an almond orchard has no live lower limbs doesn’t mean it’s not extraordinarily productive. Read More
Nuts
July 29, 2017
New Orchard Systems Advisor Returns Home
Luke Milliron, who’s back in the Butte County area, is ready to help growers, especially improving irrigation. Read More
Nuts
July 28, 2017
Self-Fertile Almond Dominates New Plantings
‘Independence’ almond — which cuts pollination and other cultural costs — now represents one-quarter of all plantings. Read More
Citrus
July 23, 2017
USDA Invests $7.6 Million toward Beneficial Insect Research
Projects to promote beneficial organisms as part of a pest control strategy. Read More
Fruits
July 14, 2017
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Predator Egg Mass Found
Samuri wasp parasitized egg mass found in Southern New Jersey peach orchard. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precision Agriculture Closer to Earth
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
Lab Opens to Test for Pistachio Problem
AgExperts Inc. is now testing for Rhodococcus bacteria, which has plagued growers for the past few years. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
California Almond Crop Projected to Increase 5%
This year’s California almond crop is forecasted to exceed 2 billion pounds, according to the California Almond Objective Measurement Report Read More
Closeup of a managed bee hive next to a blueberry field
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Your Crops
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
honeybees
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Nuts
June 3, 2017
Have Flooded Orchards? Keep an Eye out for Damage
While the damage from waterlogging or Phytophthora may not be immediately known, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. Read More
The Latest
Nuts
October 2, 2017
Almond Industry Group Backs USDA Export …
Almond Alliance of California President Kelly Covello: Without Market Access Program money, the world-dominant industry “might not have entered China, which is now our third largest export market.” Read More
Nuts
September 25, 2017
Pollination Power Couple Teaming Up for …
Growers would be better off adding blue orchard bees (BOBs), reducing their heavy dependence on honeybees that have to be brought into California each year. Read More
Nuts
September 12, 2017
Walnut Crop Expected to be Down 5%
While wet California winter was welcome to growers, some orchards were flooded, compromising root systems. Read More
Nuts
September 3, 2017
Codling Moth Monitoring Tips in Walnuts
Mating disruption doesn’t just affect those orchards directly involved; you need to consider the potential impact on nearby orchards. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in…
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.…
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Nuts
July 30, 2017
The New Normal of Almond Orchard Canopie…
Just because an almond orchard has no live lower limbs doesn’t mean it’s not extraordinarily productive. Read More
Nuts
July 29, 2017
New Orchard Systems Advisor Returns Home
Luke Milliron, who’s back in the Butte County area, is ready to help growers, especially improving irrigation. Read More
Nuts
July 28, 2017
Self-Fertile Almond Dominates New Planti…
‘Independence’ almond — which cuts pollination and other cultural costs — now represents one-quarter of all plantings. Read More
Citrus
July 23, 2017
USDA Invests $7.6 Million toward Benefic…
Projects to promote beneficial organisms as part of a pest control strategy. Read More
Fruits
July 14, 2017
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Predator Egg …
Samuri wasp parasitized egg mass found in Southern New Jersey peach orchard. Read More
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precisi…
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
Lab Opens to Test for Pistachio Problem
AgExperts Inc. is now testing for Rhodococcus bacteria, which has plagued growers for the past few years. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
California Almond Crop Projected to Incr…
This year’s California almond crop is forecasted to exceed 2 billion pounds, according to the California Almond Objective Measurement Report Read More
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Nuts
June 3, 2017
Have Flooded Orchards? Keep an Eye out f…
While the damage from waterlogging or Phytophthora may not be immediately known, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. Read More