Valley citrus growers brace for cold temperatures ahead

LINDSAY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wind and water is what Brian Neufeld knows will save a grove of mandarins, just east of Lindsay, should temperatures drop so low that they're threatened by frost damage. But he honestly wouldn't mind seeing some more 30 degree nights.

"Just to get trees winterized in anticipation of seeing maybe some mid-20 degree temperatures, toughen the trees up," Neufeld said.

To also prep the trees for the cold, this machine is spraying nutrients on them.

Neufeld thinks recent rains could help his cause, and if the fog sticks around, will keep temperatures above thirty degrees.

"I welcome low 30 degree nights," Neufeld said. "I just don't welcome mid-20 degree nights."

"You start getting into the 20's and you start to get a little bit worried," said
Devon Yurosek of Canopy Ag, a farm management company.

Yurosek spoke to Action News in Northern Kern County off Highway 65, where white sheets lined rolling brown hills. They're not some kind of apparition.

And the fieldworkers aren't quite done dressing up the young and tender citrus trees that are especially vulnerable to the extreme cold. But the sheets should be another barrier against it, as it's expected to set in as soon as this weekend.

"It's kind of a blanket that we put over the top of the tree right before this frost coming in to try and help keep them just a little bit warmer," Yurosek said.

Yurosek said the sprinklers below should also create humidity and help increase the temperature inside. The whole process of protecting the trees isn't cheap, but at the end of the day, he said it's less expensive than replacing one.
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