(News article for February 2021)
Freezing temperatures have taken a toll on tropical plants around the Feliciana parishes and the full extent of the damage may not show up until June. Citrus trees are one of the most popular fruit trees grown in our area, but they are susceptible to extremely cold temperatures. Your tree may look pathetic but give it a fighting chance! Wait until later in the spring before pruning the damaged wood from your citrus tree. If you prune too soon, you may cut good wood from the tree. I advise waiting until June 1st to assess your tree and make the necessary pruning cuts.
Citrus trees are normally grafted onto a cold hardy trifoliate orange rootstock. Graft lines are visible at the bottom of the trunk and look like a small swollen line. Sometimes rootstock will begin sprouting from below this graft line, especially if the grafted tree has died from cold exposure. The owner may not even realize that their tree has died when rootstock begins sprouting. Rootstock is identifiable by its compound leaf with three leaflets and large thorns. If you notice rootstock growing from your tree you should prune it immediately. Feel free to send me pictures if you are unsure: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessie Hoover is a County Agent with the LSU AgCenter covering horticulture in East Feliciana, West Feliciana, and St. Helena parishes. For more information on these or related topics contact Jessie at 225-683-3101 or visit the LSU AgCenter Website.
Orange tree leaf curling due to cold damage. Photo by Jessie Hoover.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture