Frost Protection for Trees & Fruit, Page 2

Protecting your trees in a frost (continued)

How to protect trees & fruit in a freeze, Page 1


Cover and insulate the stump with Hay

Stop the stump from freezing.

Many trees will resprout in the spring if you protect at minimum the trunk of the tree from freezing.  You simply pile hay around the trunk as high as you want to protect.  This insulates the tree and the ground warms and protects the trunk.

Pros- Cheap, especially if you have farm animals that produce waste hay, hay becomes fertilizer in the spring, easy to implement even for many trees.  Can be done in addition to other methods as sort of a plan B.
Cons- The rest of the tree remains unprotected, the tree may not come back in the spring, fruit will be lost.

Propane Heaters

Several propane or other types of heaters are placed throughout the trees you want to protect (not too close!)

Pros- Easy
Cons- Ineffective if windy, high cost, large storage requirement

Drip Lines

Similar to sprinklers and hot water buckets, the warmer than air water from the drip lines will help protect trees by evaporating and rising up into the tree canopy.  Adding a blanket or plastic will trap the heat and keep the tree warm.

Pros-Easy if you already have drip lines.
Cons- Covering larger trees is difficult, best used in conjunction with another method.

Don’t fertilize

Fertilizing at the wrong time (late fall and winter) can make a plants young tender new shoots susceptible to freeze damage.  I personally do fertilize lightly during the winter here in Florida, it is a risk, but I pay attention to the winter forecast.  I want the extra growth I can get during a mild Florida winter.  During a forecasted severe winter, I would withhold fertilizing.

Pros- save money on fertilizer
Cons – lose growth in the winter time(important in Florida, not in more northern locations)

Planting under a tree Canopy

A larger tree will reflect heat and humidity from the ground back onto any plants below.  This microclimate

Tree Canopy microclimate

Use tree canopy to prevent frost damage to smaller trees

will be a few degrees warmer than the surroundings.

Pros – Effortless with a little advanced planning.
Cons- Less effective when windy, requires advanced planning, won’t work for full sun plants


This topic is a bit mystifying with many sources condemning certain methods, but I hope the list above can help you make a decision for yourself on how you want to protect the trees on your property.

Do you have another method? Comment below!  Want to go back to Protecting your trees from a frost, page 1?

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