It's That Time of Year
Posted on: Monday, November 24, 2014 by Darryl McCullough
I'm a low-key member of the Tampa Bay Rare Fruit Council. From here in north Sarasota County, Tampa is at least an hour drive each way, so I only manage to attend a few meetings a year. Facing excessive price demands to continue meeting at the Tampa Bay Garden Club, the Council has moved to a new site, a church on S. Dale Mabry in Tampa. It's a very good meeting site, and though a bit farther in distance, more of the route is on freeways so the travel time for me is about the same.
I journeyed there earlier this month to hear Plant City fruit tree master Charles Novak, the day before he spoke to us about berries at the MRFC. In Tampa the topic was freeze protection.
The approaches to freeze protection are many, ranging from mounding up mulch around the trunk to building an enclosure for your tree and putting a heater inside (but don't overdo the heating, lest you wake the next morning to find a baked fruit tree as did one chagrined grower). Charles has placed a nice writeup on Cold Protection for Plants on the Tampa Bay Rare Fruit Council website--- find it in the "Guides" section in Fruit Information.
Long-range forecasts this year, for what they are worth, say this winter looks to be colder and wetter than average. And you just know that the day a bad freeze is coming, eighteen other essential tasks will converge to fill up your day. So as Charles pointed out, the Thanksgiving holiday week is a perfect time to prepare for any freezes that may come our way.
Reviewing Charles' article is a good way to start. Then make sure you have your mulch on hand, and those boxes and trash cans ready to place over the young ones. Check your freeze cloths, tree wraps, sprinklers, or whatever gear you will use. Now is the time to figure out what will go where. Be ready to spring into action, and hope that it won't be necessary.