Protecting citrus from cold weather

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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Ryder Laramore has been growing satsumas for 14 years.

With the recent chilly weather, Laramore is taking precautions to protect his trees--all 650 of them.

"Usually we don't get a freeze like this until January," Laramore said. "We have a few times, but it's rare that we get these kind of temperatures until January."

To protect his trees from those cold temperatures, Laramore uses a micro-irrigation system on every tree in his grove.

"You can spray enough water on them to keep them at a certain temperature and these are real cold-hearted," Laramore said. "The other citrus don't go dormant like the satsuma tree does. It goes dormant which allows it to survive colder weather."

Laramore said citrus trees are okay until about 14 degrees, but there are other ways to keep the citrus safe.

"You can put Christmas lights on them," Laramore said. "A lot of people do that. I've heard of people putting sheets over them and putting five-gallon buckets of water under the sheet and those five-gallon buckets will keep it warm enough under that sheet not to damage the tree."

As for the low temperatures the rest of the week, Laramore said he isn't concerned. He said the only way cold weather can really harm satsumas is if there was a sudden drop in temperature when it's normally warm outside.

Most commercial sales of satsumas are over. Harvesting will be complete in a couple weeks.