Some Tips For Dealing With Frost Sensitive Trees


It sometimes amazes people that trees in Phoenix can suffer from frost damage in the desert.  Sometimes the temperature drops below freezing in Phoenix and for around 7-10 days and some citrus trees can be damaged along with eucalyptus, mesquite trees and others.

The best way to cover your small tree is to make sure that the sheet or other material covers the ground so that the warmth keeps close to the tree and does not escape.  Small citrus trees that are fairly young in age,  especially lemon and lime trees, need frost protection as described above. It can be difficult to cover large trees, but is well worth the effort for the short amount of time that the trees need the protection. If there is a severe frost warning, older citrus trees will not be affected by the frost and will more than likely be back from frost exposure in the spring.

It is important not to forget to keep watering your trees during the winter months and never over water your trees.  Remove the tree covers later in the day, preferably in the late afternoon after sunrise.  If for some reason your tree has some frost damage occur, please do not remove the damaged area because it protects the areas of the tree where they are still alive and thriving.  If you want to prune the tree that has been damaged, wait until the spring time to do this.

In early 2007, certain areas in Phoenix, AZ experienced these below average temperatures and a large number of property owners suffered from extensive frost damage.  The trees that suffered the most damage were the citrus trees.  Rapid alternation of freezing and thawing temperatures kills some tree tissues and causes the tissues around these areas to grow abnormally. Death occurs when the moisture within the tree freezes, and the resulting crystals of ice expand to crush and heave various tissues under the bark. The Freeze thaw cycles mainly occur during December through March in the desert.

In conclusion, when dealing with the cold winter months, it is a good idea to be prepared for the worst by taking the necessary steps to be proactive by getting your supplies and material in order for these types of cold spells.  The best way to prevent frost damage is to plant trees carefully, encouraging vigorous growth so that they become well established, making sure adequate water is applied bringing soil to field capacity. The application of fertilizer causes vigorous growth, which reduces the occurrence of die back and frost canker formation of new roots.  This will cause new branches to take over the existing ones as the new leaders allowing transformational flow to protect xylem from freezing.

Chip Off The Old Block offers free no obligation tree service quotes and if you are experiencing these types of issues we can help.


Chip Off The Old Block
18444 N. 25th Ave Suite #420-576
Phoenix, AZ 85023
East: 480-423-0300
West: 623-516-9900
Central: 602-253-3200


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