Citrus Growers Not Concerned About Freezing Overnight Lows

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - Citrus growers across the Valley said they're happy with the overnight freezing cold temperatures. The California Citrus Mutual organization said the weather so far has stayed well within the sweet spot for the area's citrus crop.

According to Kings River Packing in Sanger, if the overnight lows hit 24 to 25 degrees or lower, that's when they start getting concerned. But even then, it has to be that cold for multiple hours on end, before there may be damage to the citrus.

Kings River Packing sales and marketing manager Jesse Silva said overnight freezing temperatures aren't a bad thing for the fruit.

"The colder temperatures are actually, create better quality fruit and give us an ability to lengthen our season," stated Silva.

And while it may dip into the high 20s and 30s overnight, Silva said they're prepared.

He said, "We use different measures to create protection, and running water is part of it, and also wind machines and we're able to get about two to three degrees higher than normal temps."

CCM said the navel orange crop can tolerate temperatures as low as 27 degrees. They report that growers are optimistic that the moisture in the air will help keep the ground moist through the day, and that will help in frost protection efforts Thursday night.

Silva said they are even more confident with this season's harvest, because the dangerously freezing cold temperatures have to last for hours on end, and that is likely not in the forecast.

"We haven't seen that yet right now, you know the lower temps were 27, 28 degrees and that's really key for the strength of the fruit so that's a good temperature," ended Silva.

According to the CCM, historically, the area's most severe freezes have occurred the week of Christmas.

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