Protecting Citrus Against A Possible Freeze
By Laurie Greene, Associate Editor
|A Wind Machine Standing By to Help Protect|
Citrus as a Freeze Moves into the Valley.
Philip LoBue, President and CEO, LoBue Citrus, a
full-service grower, packer, and citrus shipper, based in Tulare County, spoke
with California Ag Today.
According to LoBue, this
week is a typical freeze event, though slightly earlier than usual. So, he is
taking ordinary precautions with his citrus by using well water and wind
afternoon water application using standard irrigation, in this case
micro-sprinklers within rows, creates a microclimate effect of surface heat. As
the temperature drops at night, water freezes and gives off energy (heat),
benefitting the trees. In the sunlight the next day, water melts into the
ground allowing the ground to hold more heat during the day, and so the cycle
The freeze stirs up
an inversion layer 30 feet above ground at the treetops. Tonight’s inversion in
the central part of the central San Joaquin Valley will be weak according to
LoBue because the inversion’s elevation will be only one or two degrees warmer,
and not six degrees for example.
of freeze damage on crops depends upon the actual temperature, length of
exposure time, and precautions taken. In citrus groves, the initial freeze
damage starts outside of the grove on its borders and on the exterior of the
fruit exposed on the treetops. The exterior rind of the fruit becomes
physically damaged before the interior is affected. Exterior rind ice marks and
other visual markers change the fruit’s export quality and value. As the freeze
persists, the interior of the fruit becomes susceptible to damage.
LoBue says farmers
are already taking additional standard precautions such as checking batteries
for diesel or propane wind machines and copper or aluminum wiring for electric
Of note, a brutal freeze on December 23, 1991,
destroyed all fruit yet to be harvested.
As a result, LoBue Bros. (former company name) shut down for
most of the year. When it became apparent that government employment programs
were inadequate in addressing the needs of unemployed workers, the LoBue staff
and management secured both private sector and additional government assistance
to help workers obtain food and shelter until the next season's crop. LoBue
Bros. received statewide recognition for its efforts on behalf of these
Nearly 80 years in business, LoBue
Citrus is an independent, family-owned grower,
packer and shipper of fresh citrus and citrus juice products, including navel
oranges, mandarin oranges, specialty citrus, lemons and juice.
Labels: CITRUS GROWER TAKES PRECAUTIONS AGAINST FREEZE, LoBue Citrus, Philip LoBue, President and CEO, Protecting Citrus Against A Possible Freeze