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Environment

Central Florida's Cold Snap is Sweet for Citrus Growers

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Although there was talk of a hard freeze in Central Florida on Monday night, citrus growers say temperatures didn't drop far enough to make special protective measures necessary. In fact, experts say the cold blast sweeping through the area is actually good for the crop.

Preparing a citrus grove for a cold snap is tricky.

The general rule is, if temperatures hit 28 degrees for four or more hours, citrus trees could see some damage. But Central Florida’s overnight lows were mostly in the lower 30s, and Andrew Meadows of Florida Citrus Mutual says that amount of cold is a boon for the fruit. 

“It makes it sweeter, more sugar is generated, natural sugar, and that’s good for growers and good for processors,” Meadows says. “So [a climate] like yesterday and this morning, and tonight and tomorrow morning – as long as we don’t hit that 28 degrees for four hours or more – is actually a positive.” 

Meadows says the Central Florida winter has been mild so far, but growers stay on high alert for potentially damaging cold snaps through February.